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South Dakota House Taxation Committee Considers Removing State Sales Tax on Grocery Food

In Pierre, on 7:45 Thursday Morning, the House Taxation Committee will hear testimony on HB 1154. If passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Daugaard, the state will remove the 4% state share of tax on food items. Pop, candy, and various other “treats” found in most convenience stores would still be subject to the tax. In order to make up the revenue lost from taking the tax off food, the state will raise the tax on other taxable items by .35%. So the state tax you pay for clothes, hardware, utility bills, and other taxable items will become 4.35%

This proposal, in various forms, has been made many times in previous sessions. It has never passed.

I think it is worthy of discussion. Without becoming “Obvious Man,” both rich and poor need to consume healthier food. We are becoming obese. What we eat is part of the problem. Removing the tax from typical grocery food and keeping it on “junk food” could be an incentive for all of us to eat healthier. We might actually spend time preparing what we eat. The time spent in the kitchen might cause a food preparation interaction with family members, which might cause conversation. Conversation among family members might bring about harmony, or at least an understanding what is causing friction within the family unit. Less friction, less stress.

The positive possible outcomes are endless. Hope the legislature can see the wisdom of this proposal, approve it, and send it to the Governor. While the Governor and his staff have not shown any desire to change the tax system, I hope he will see the benefits to the financially stressed people in our state. I hope he also sees the benefit to people who produce real food here, too.

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