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Taxes and Spending

  • Taxes should be kept low to facilitate liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

  • The best way to keep taxes low is to keep spending low.

  • State spending should be limited to obligations that are mandated by law (education, roads, etc.) and bills that both benefit a significant fraction of the citizens of South Dakota and have a favorable benefit to cost ratio.

 

Summary:

 

Taxes and spending in South Dakota should be minimized.  The way to do this is for the state to minimize its spending.  Tax dollars should be appropriated only for projects that are specified by state law (education, roads, etc.) or for projects that meet stringent requirements.  These requirements are: (1) The project will benefit a significant fraction of the state’s population.  (2) The money spent has a good benefit to cost ratio.  If a project is neither required by state law, nor meets the two listed requirements, then it should not be funded.

Discussion:

 

As a legislator I will work to minimize State taxing and spending. To achieve this I will be ruthless in cutting or eliminating appropriations that are wasteful or don’t meet my basic requirements for funding. In order to be funded a program must either be required by state law or meet two funding requirements.  South Dakota is obligated, by law, to financially support certain public needs, e.g. education and roads.  For these appropriations I will try to ensure that the money is being spent efficiently.  For proposals that the state is not obligated to support, I’ll determine if they meet two requirements: (1) Does the proposed spending benefit a significant fraction of state residents.  (2)  Does the program have a reasonably high benefit-to-cost ratio.  If the spending proposal only benefits a small percent of state residents, and/or if the program’s cost is high compared to the benefits it generates, then I will not support it.

What are specific examples of programs that I support and oppose for funding?  The State’s constitution says that the state must support public education.  It goes into considerable detail about sources of funding and how the money should be spent.  Education is clearly an activity that South Dakota law obligates the state to support.  I support State funding for education, although, as explained in my school funding position statement, I favor amending the state’s constitution to change the way that the funding is done.  Although I do believe the state should provide aid to education, I think it can be done more efficiently.  The changes I have proposed to education funding should eventually result in reduced costs/taxes.

The South Dakota Constitution also says that the State is responsible for the construction and maintenance of our highway system.  Again, this is something that I fully support.  However, as with education, I would look for ways to spend appropriations more efficiently.

Examples of proposals that I don’t support.   In the proposed 2022 budget there is $200M ($150M in State funds) in the “Special Appropriations Recommendations” section for “Workforce Housing Infrastructure” (https://bfm.sd.gov/budget/FY2023/SD_Rec_2023_entire.pdf).  Essentially this proposal is to use State funds to build subsidized housing.  I do not support this both because the is no legal obligation for the state to provide housing for residents and because the percentage of people, in the State, that would directly benefit from this is small.   Another example of a 2022 spending proposal that I do not support is a to spend $50M to expand broadband service (https://bfm.sd.gov/budget/FY2023/GOEDBroadbandARPA.pdf.) There is no question that the availability of broadband service is essential to conduct modern business and that it improves the quality of home life.  However, it is not the State’s responsibility to provide this service.  Also it is already available from cable and fiber optics in many areas of the state as well as satellites in other areas.  There is no good reason for all of the citizens of SD to be taxed more heavily to subsidize broadband service for a small percentage of residents.  

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