Legislators Disagree On Majority Threshold For Tax Bill
By Kealey Bultena
Lawmakers in Pierre have compromised on a bill to extend South Dakota’s tourism tax. But much of the debate centered on how many legislators needed to support the change.
Both chambers have passed House Bill 1248, which now extends the half-penny sales tax benefiting tourism through July 2013. But lawmakers in both houses disagree over the margin of support the measure needed.
In the Senate, Republican Al Novstrup says the tax is new, so two-thirds of lawmakers should have to support it.
"To pass a tax in South Dakota, it takes a two-thirds vote of the House and a two-thirds vote of the Senate. The reason we do that is to provide protection to the taxpayers," Novstrup says.
Other Senators say the bill simply extends an existing tax, and doesn’t create a new one, so it just needs more than 50 percent of the vote. In the House, Democrat Bernie Hunhoff posed the same question. But lawmakers in that body also voted that a simple majority is enough to put a later sunset on the tourism tax.
Despite the clash, when lawmakers voted, each chamber had significantly more than two-thirds in favor of House Bill 1248.
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