Day Seven (Jan. 23)
The state senator from Lawrence County dropped his bombshell for the Deadwood casinos and Black Hills tourism. Legislation was introduced by Sen. Tom Nelson, R-Lead, to increase the Deadwood bet limit from $100 to $1,000.
The change has some statewide implications because bet limits at tribal casinos in South Dakota hold to the same line as Deadwood.
When Deadwood gambling began two decades ago, the bet limit was $5. It increased to $100 after voters supported an initiated measure in the 2000 election; there were 161,249 yes votes and 151,244 no votes for that increase.
Nelson’s co-sponsors on the $1,000 legislation, Senate Bill 108, are all Republicans. They include senators Stan Adelstein of Rapid City, Dan Lederman of Dakota Dunes, Ryan Maher of Isabel and Bruce Rampelberg of Rapid City.
The bill’s lead sponsor in the House of Representatives is Rep. Charles Hoffman, R-Eureka. Other House co-sponsors are representatives Gene Abdallah of Sioux Falls, Fred Romkema of Spearfish, Tona Rozum of Mitchell, Roger Solum of Watertown, Chuck Turbiville of Deadwood and Mike Verchio of Hill City.
A hearing date hasn’t been set yet.
Day Eight (Jan. 24)
Rural electric cooperatives and their wholesale suppliers of power want a big change in how they’re taxed in South Dakota. Their plan would slow the flow of tax revenue to public school districts.
The co-ops’ legislation, Senate Bill 123, has been introduced by Sen. Larry Rhoden, R-Union Center. The Senate committee on taxation hasn’t set a hearing date yet.
If the Senate passes the bill, the effort in the House would be led by its lead sponsor there, Rep. Roger Solum, R-Watertown.
Currently the local co-ops pay a 2 percent tax on their gross receipts and the generation and transmission co-operatives, such as East River Electric, pay a 2 percent tax on their gross receipts.
They have a unified drive through the South Dakota Rural Electric Association to repeal the gross receipts tax. They want a mil levy instead imposed on each kilowatt-hour of electricity they sell.
In both instances, the tax revenue flows to the school districts. The difference in the two approaches is that the gross receipts tax covers both price increases and usage increases, while the kilowatt-hour tax would apply only the volume of electricity sold regardless of price.
The proposed formula is intended to provide school districts with a similar amount of revenue in the first year. The difference would appear in the future. Revenue to the school districts would grow at a slower rate under the kilowatt-hour plan.
The legislation doesn’t indicate a replacement for the revenue increases that the districts wouldn’t see in the future. The co-ops saw their tax payments increase by an average of nearly 10 percent annually during the past decade under the gross receipts approach. The estimated growth under the kilowatt-hour plan is estimated at an average of 3.7 percent annually.
Other senators who signed as co-sponsors include Begalka, Frerichs, Fryslie, Hansen, Haverly, Juhnke, Maher, Nelson, Nygaard, Peters, Putnam, Rampelberg, Schlekeway, Sutton, Tidemann and Tieszen.
Other representatives on the bill are Bolin, Boomgarden, Brunner, Cronin, Dennert, Gibson, Greenfield, Hawley, Hoffman, Jensen, Kloucek, Kopp, Olson, Rausch, Romkema, Russell, Schaefer, Schrempp, Street, Turbiville, Vanneman, Verchio and Willadsen.
Day Nine (Jan. 25)
Sen. Tom Nelson has some busy times ahead with a trio of legislation dealing with Deadwood gambling.
Hearing dates haven’t announced yet by the Senate committee on commerce and energy on his $1,000 bet-limit measure (SB108); his no-taxes on free plays bill (SB109); and his repeal of the law that limits a person to financial interest in no more than three casinos (SB112).
He happens to be the committee’s chairman. Besides being mayor of Lead, the second-term Republican also is president of the Deadwood Gaming Association.
In addition to his casino measures, Nelson has another bill of importance to tourism businesses. His proposal (SB110) would increase the maximum occupational tax to $5 from the current $2 per night for guests at lodging establishments that are part of business improvement districts.
The Senate committee on taxation hasn’t scheduled a hearing on that measure yet.