PIERRE, SD – Following Gov. Kristi’s Noem announcement that if re-elected she will repeal the food tax, there has been a call from a handful of Republican legislators to hold a special session on Nov. 3 to repeal the state’s grocery tax immediately, rather than wait until the 2023 Legislative session.
The move comes just ahead of South Dakota’s Nov. 8 general election that will decide races for governor, the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, and state legislature, among others.
South Dakota is one of only three states that applies the full sales tax rate to residents at the grocery store on food purchases.
In what has become a tight race for governor, gubernatorial challenger Rep. Jamie Smith, (D-15/Sioux Falls), a long-time supporter of eliminating the grocery tax, says it’s well past time, agreeing with Rep. Phil Jensen (R-Rapid City) and other Republican lawmakers who are asking for a special session to repeal the tax now. He says Gov. Noem needs to call a special session immediately, rather than wait for two thirds of the members of each chamber of the Legislature to sign a petition, a requirement for a legislator(s) to call a special session.
“Today, I called on Gov. Kristi Noem to call a special session to repeal the food tax and help South Dakota families. If she is serious about this plan, she should use her power to help the people now. This should not become another failed promise,” Smith said in a Facebook post following a 9:30a.m. press conference held at the Smith Campaign Headquarters in Sioux Falls where he spoke to the recent announcements from the Governor and Republican legislators.
During the 2022 legislative session, the South Dakota House passed Senate Bill 122, which would repeal the state sales tax on food, while allowing cities to maintain some local control on what they’d like to set for a local sales tax. That bill died in the State Senate when Jensen and his fellow House Republicans hoghoused late in the Session into the food tax repeal that Noem opposed at the time.
Noem, who is running for her second term against Smith, made the about-face announcement during the last week of September, saying that if re-elected, she would push legislators to repeal the tax during the 2023 session.
The other seven lawmakers who are calling for the special session include: Senator-elect Tom Pischke (R-Dell Rapids), Sen. Julie Frye-Muller (R-Rapid City), Rep. Taffy Howard (R-Rapid City), Rep. Tony Randolph (R-Rapid City), Rep. Kevin Jensen (R-Canton), Rep. Steve Haugaard (R-Sioux Falls) and Rep. Arron Aylward (R-Harrisburg).