Alcohol tax fails to get nod from Senate


Tara Bordewyk, Community News Service

PIERRE (CNS) – The Senate killed a bill that would increase the alcohol tax in South Dakota Feb. 22.

Under the bill, people would pay up to five cents extra for their beverage of choice at the bar, State Sen. Eric Bogue, R-Faith, said. Senate Bill 62 raised the state tax on alcoholic beverages by 54 percent.

Senate Bill 62 is the fourth tax bill, proposed by the governor, to reach the Senate floor.

The bill would have helped raise the money to support the governor’s plan to increase funds for K-12 education, the salary package for state employees and money needed to make up for a shortfall in matching funds for Medicaid.

The state can depend on the alcohol tax as steady revenue, Bogue said. He noted that a study showed usage of alcohol has increased along with the tax increases.

State Sen. Garry Moore, D-Yankton, is troubled that the state is proposing the most “massive tax increase” in the state’s history when economic times are hard. “And we’re laying all these tax increases on Joe six-pack,” Moore said.

It may be just a few cents here and there, but the tax will impact everyone, he said.

Moore said the bill should only pass if the extra revenue, $3.7 million, would be given to education.

He suggested amending the bill to do that. The amendment failed 10-25.

Senate Bill 62 failed 10-25.