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South Dakota House Members Defeat ‘Minority Rules’ Constitutional Proposal

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A proposal to change the South Dakota Constitution regarding citizen votes on raising taxes has been narrowly defeated in the House. The vote took place Tuesday March 5th.

Conservative lawmakers proposed requiring a two thirds approval when citizens, initiate, or refer a public vote on, creating, raising, or renewing a tax which may be expiring. The legislature operates in state law under those tenets. They wanted all of us to operate under the same rules.

The proposal handily passed the Senate earlier in the session. The vote in the House on Tuesday March 5, was close 34 yes, 35 no. A call for reconsideration did not garner any more votes, so the measure lost.

No other state which allows public votes on legislative issues requires more than a simple majority(50% plus one vote) In South Dakota the current requirement is a simple majority also, on all issues.

I do understand the logic of not allowing the government to grow, by making it difficult to raise taxes. However, majority rule on state wide votes has been the standard. Raising the required vote to two thirds, gives a potential minority 33% plus one vote, the power to control the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of the majority.

I am a fiscal conservative. The raising of taxes by our elected officials, with the support of state bureaucrats, should be difficult.

There are times when the majority of citizen power should rule. This is one of them.

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