SDFU Board of Directors Votes to Support HB 1230 Petition Drive

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The South Dakota Farmers Union (SDFU) Board of Directors has voted to support the ongoing petition drive which seeks to let the voters decide if House Bill 1230 should go into effect.

The law, which was passed in the most recent legislative session, would divert 22-percent of the Contractor’s Excise Tax into a large projects grant fund. It’s estimated that as much as $16 million would be taken from the state’s general fund through this action annually beginning in 2013. The grants, which would come from the diversion of the Contractor’s Excise Tax, would be given to businesses which build large projects in the state exceeding $5 million. Public education and many other services receive money from the general fund each year.

“When we’re cutting funds to public education, agricultural research, agriculture education, and other services, our state shouldn’t be giving handouts to large businesses and corporations,” said SDFU President Doug Sombke. “We need to be investing in our children and in agriculture, not giving away our hard earned tax dollars to big business. True economic development comes through education, not corporate welfare.”

The SDFU Board of Directors is encouraging Farmers Union members across the state to collect signatures for the petition drive in an effort to get this issue on the ballot. Petitions are being sent to county and district Farmers Union leaders across the state of South Dakota.
“We believe strongly in this effort, and our members will work to save the tax dollars that should go to educating our young people,” Sombke said.    

15,885 valid signatures of registered South Dakota voters must be collected by 5:00 p.m. on June 27, 2011 to force the issue to a public vote. If enough signatures are collected, the issue would be placed on the November 2012 ballot. The goal has been set at 25,000 signatures to make sure there are 15,885 valid signatures.

If you would like to help gather signatures, please send us an email with your address and phone number to

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