South Dakota Farmers Protest Tax Hike

South Dakota farmers are protesting potential tax increased, and have petitioned state legislators to reject raising taxes on farm equipment and vehicles. The proposed tax policies are another result of the ongoing economic recession in the United States. Faced with shrinking revenues, various states are looking for ways to squeeze out extra tax revenue without having to raise taxes outright.

The proposed plan in South Dakota currently looks to remove tax exemptions on a series of goods and items sold in the state. Adding extra goods and services to the tax rosters (current South Dakota sales tax is four percent) would g a long way in balancing the state’s budget and raising tax revenues. Adding sixteen extra items, the state Sales Tax Review Committee claims, could add an extra $80 million in revenues.

However, many farmers claim that applying sales tax to fertilizer sales and machinery repairs could seriously damage the state’s agricultural industry. Increasing maintenance costs, they argue, are not only impractical, but also unfair. Some South Dakota farmers see the proposal as placing the financial burdens of the entire state on the shoulders of a single industry.

The tax debate comes in the midst of fierce debates, both at the state and federal level, over the role of agricultural in local economies. Farmers and agricultural officials have indicated a willingness to make shared sacrifices for the good of the country, accepting the need for fewer subsidies and some higher taxes, but many see the repeated attacks on the industry as unwarranted and bad for the larger economy as a whole.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer