South Dakota Sales Tax Increase Measure, Initiated Measure 15 (2012)

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Initiated Measure 15
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Type:initiated state statute
Referred by:Citizens
Status:On the ballot
The South Dakota Sales Tax Increase Measure will appear on the November 6, 2012 ballot in the state of South Dakota as an initiated state statute. The ballot measure would implement a one-percent sales tax increase, from 4 to 5 percent, that would begin in 2013. Specifically, the measure would take 20 percent of the revenue and place it in the South Dakota Moving Forward Fund.[1]

If the measure's effects that are being predicted by supporters materialize, it would give schools approximately $725 more per student annually and about $70 million would be added to Medicaid reimbursement rates per year, according to reports. Additionally, the state would receive $18 million of generated revenue to handle increased Medicaid caseloads.[2]


The following is information obtained from supporting side of the measure:

  • The group Moving South Dakota Forward is the organization behind the measure and is expected to gather signatures during the petition drive.[3]
  • The Aberdeen School District stated support for the proposal, when the Aberdeen school board unanimously passed a resolution supporting the measure on September 12, 2011.[3]
  • Tea High School Principal Al Laboranti commented on the effects of the measure and how it could help education in the state: "Something had to be done with all the cuts that were made last year, with all the revenue that was lost. We need, you know, to somehow get that money back into our system and I think this would be a great way."[4]
  • According to Andy Wiese on the signature gathering effort to place the measure on the ballot: "The number of signatures we turned in tells me people are really paying attention across the state to these two very important services that are basic and necessary across the state."[5]

Other perspectives

The following is information obtained from sources that stated neither support for nor opposition to the measure:

  • The Daily Republic stated its support for the initiative effort, but not the measure in particular. The argument presented pointed out that a majority vote is the best route to decide whether to raise the sales tax educational and medicaid purposes. The newspaper's editorial board stated: "South Dakota’s sales tax hasn’t been increased since 1969. Perhaps it’s time, but maybe not. This issue is best decided by a majority. By signing the petition, we are helping get the sales-tax issue on a 2012 ballot. That’s all. We think it best to sign, since this is an issue of statewide importance and one that deserves to be put before the voters."[6]
  • The South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry, according to reports, may not take a stance on the measure. According to Chamber President David Owen, chamber board members differ on the measure's impacts, therefore leaving the group neutral. Owens stated: "We’re concerned that that’s a little overly restrictive in terms of what you’d have as a policy. But, then again, taxpayers want to know where their money is going.”[7]


Polls, 2012 ballot measures
  • In a poll conducted by Nielson Brothers Polling, and released on September 14, 2011, results showed opposition to a 1 percent increase in the state sales tax. The margin of error for the poll was 3.63 percent.[8]
Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
September 14, 2011 Nielson Brothers Polling 35% 56% 9% 729

Path to the ballot

Supporters of proposed initiated state statutes were required to collect 15,854 signatures for initiated state statutes by the November 1, 2011 petition drive deadline.

According to the South Dakota Secretary of State's website, the sales tax measure was the only initiative effort gathering signatures.

Reports stated that backers of the initiative effort collected enough signatures for the measure, and submitted them to the secretary of state's office on the day of the deadline. The signatures were then validated in order for the measure to make the ballot. According to reports signatures were verified on November 23, 2011 by the South Dakota Secretary of State's office.[9][10][11]

See also

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