Legislators share concerns, comments

Jamison Lamp

Jamison Lamp

Jan. 31 marked the first of three legislative Cracker Barrels.

In attendance were Representatives Carol Pitts and Larry Tidemann and Senator Pam Merchant. The session was broadcast live on the city’s Web site and on Mediacom channel nine.

All expressed the importance of the opportunity to hear their constituent’s opinions on the issues.

As the times tell, money is tight. This was a common concern amongst community members.

“It’s hard to sell a tax increase,” Tidemann said.

It seems like every 10 to 12 years the state has to look for new forms of revenue, Tidemann, chair of appropriations, said.

One Brookings resident asked the legislators to give their opinions on the tax situation in the state.

Merchant said she feels that there are ways that taxes could be shifted to make taxation fairer. Merchant has co-sponsored HB 1190 that would repeal the food tax but increase sales tax by one-half percent.

When the forum came to a close, legislators continued to stress how important it is to express community opinions to legislators. The Legislative Research Council Web site, http://legis.state.sd.us/sessions/2009/index.aspx, offers contact information for District 7 legislators, along with access to all bills being heard at the session and audio recordings of session and committee meetings.

The next forums will be held Feb. 21 and Mar. 7 at 9 a.m. in the city council chambers.