South Dakota Tax Revenues for Grants Referendum, Referred Law 14 (2012)

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Tax Revenues for Grants Referendum
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Type:Veto referendum
Referred by:Citizens
The South Dakota Tax Revenues for Grants Veto Referendum was on the November 6, 2012 ballot in the state of South Dakota as a veto referendum, where it was defeated. The measure would have repealed a law that would dedicate part of tax revenues for grants to some business projects in the state.[1]

Specifically, if the law was not repealed, starting on January 1, 2013, a 22 percent portion of contractor-excise tax revenues would be allocated to a "large project fund." The state Board of Economic Development would then decide which specific projects would be qualified to receive grants from that large fund. Reports said that the law required the projects to be at least $5 million in size. The formal title of the bill was House Bill 1230.

The petition drive to send the measure to a statewide vote was spearheaded by South Dakota Democratic Party chairman Ben Nesselhuf.

Election results

See also: 2012 ballot measure election results

The following are official election results:

South Dakota Referred Law 14
Defeatedd No190,12657.64%
Yes 139,751 42.36%

Official results via South Dakota Secretary of State.

Text of measure

The official ballot text read as follows:[2]

Title: An Act to establish the Large Project Development Fund.

Explanation: The referred law establishes the “Large Project Development Fund.” Beginning January 1, 2013, 22% of contractors’ excise tax revenues would be transferred from the state general fund to the Large Project Development Fund.
The South Dakota Board of Economic Development would use Large Project Development Fund monies to provide grants for the construction of large economic development projects within the state. To be eligible, a project must have a cost exceeding $5 million. Examples of eligible projects include laboratories and facilities for testing, manufacturing, power generation, power transmission, agricultural processing, and wind energy. Examples of ineligible projects include retail establishments; residential housing; and facilities for lodging, health care services and the raising or feeding of livestock.

A vote “Yes” is for the establishment of the Large Project Development Fund.

A vote “No” is against the referred law.


Supporters of the law opposed the referendum and were, therefore, in favor of a 'Yes' vote on the measure.

  • The South Dakota Chamber of Commerce released a newsletter in July 2012 stating their for the law as it stood. The newsletter claimed that the law would secure significant investments in the state and that the concept behind the law has been used with success for the last 15 years.[3]
  • Governor Dennis Daugaard, reportedly being a chief proponent of the law, was also an opponent of the referendum.[4]


Opponents of the law supported the referendum and were, therefore, in favor of a 'No' vote on the measure.

  • State Democrats opposed the bill in the legislature and, following its approval, South Dakota Democratic Party chairman Ben Nesselhuf led the effort to refer the law to voters. According to Nesselhuf, the referred law expanded a law repealed by the legislature in 2010, one that, he argued, was repealed because it was broken.[5][6]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing the initiative process in South Dakota

At least 15,855 valid signatures of South Dakota registered voters needed to be collected in order for the measure to be on the ballot.

According to state law, 5 percent of the signatures on the petitions should be verified, which equaled to approximately 1,150, depending on the total of signatures submitted. On June 27, 2011, supporters of the referendum turned in about 23,000 signatures to the South Dakota Secretary of State's office.[1]

Signature verification

On July 18, 2011, the South Dakota Secretary of State claimed that enough signatures were gathered, stating: “Petition circulators submitted approximately 22,883 signatures to refer the measure to a vote. According to state law and administrative rule, we drew a random sample of 1,145 signature lines to check for validation, which comprised the required audit of 5 percent of the signatures."[7]



The following is a timeline of events surrounding the measure:

Event Date Developments
Signatures submitted Jun. 27, 2011 Supporters turn in 23,000 signatures.
Certification Jul. 18, 2011 The South Dakota Secretary of State stated that the verification process was complete and that sufficient signatures were filed.

See also

External links

Additional reading