Gov. Kristi Noem – one of 13 governors who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a written commitment to taxpayers that she will oppose and veto any and all tax increases – reminded South Dakotans once again that there will be no tax increases under her watch.
“We don’t have a corporate income tax. There is no business inventory tax. We have no personal income tax. We also do not have a personal property tax or an inheritance tax,” explained Gov. Noem in her State of the State Address. “The taxes that we do have to fund state government are stable and predictable. In short, for those who might be worried about tax increases, you do not need to be.”
South Dakota is one of nine states that do not tax wage income and one of six states without a corporate income tax. No wonder it ranks second best in the Tax Foundation’s 2021 Business Tax Climate Index.
Thanks to Gov. Noem, this pro-taxpayer, bro-business record will not be changing anytime soon. “As I told you all last month, we’re in a much stronger financial position than other states across the country,” explained Noem. “States that shut down their economies are now looking at tax increases or drastic spending cuts to make ends meet.”
Throughout the pandemic, Gov. Noem refused to cave to outside pressure to shut down South Dakota. This has resulted in South Dakota having one of the strongest economies coming out of the pandemic. In fact, by keeping the state open, South Dakota’s tourism industry held its own over the course of the pandemic in comparison to other states.
The tourism industry accounts for 11% of state sales tax collections and supports 1 out of 12 jobs for South Dakotans. Because Gov. Noem kept the state open for business, “tourism generated $276 million in state & local tax revenue” and South Dakotans stayed employed. While most states, on average, saw tourism spending decline 45% in 2020, South Dakota only declined by 18%.
In addition to protecting taxpayers, Gov. Noem has also made expanding access to health care a top priority for the 2021 legislative session. To fight the coronavirus, Gov. Noem issued a number of emergency orders that removed government barriers to quality care. In a press release, she recently announced that she will be introducing two pieces of legislation that make these reforms permanent.
The first bill is based on Executive Order 2020-07, which increased access to telemedicine. “We greatly expanded telehealth in 2020. Since March, people have used tech services like these more than 70,000 times in South Dakota’s Medicaid program alone,” explained Governor Noem.
Thanks to Gov. Noem’s telemedicine order, patients were able to receive telehealth treatment from a new health care provider without the hassle of having an in-person appointment first, providers were allowed to prescribe certain medications through telehealth, and the audio-visual requirement for telehealth was eliminated.
Gov. Noem’s second bill is modeled after Executive Order 2020-16, which allowed South Dakota to recognize certain out-of-state healthcare licenses. “As freedom-loving Americans from around the country continue moving to South Dakota, we can address workforce shortages by recognizing the good work that they did in other states and welcoming them to continue their work by serving South Dakotans,” she explained.
Gov. Noem’s leadership and commitment to protecting taxpayers makes South Dakota one of the most promising places for investment in the nation. With Gov. Noem keeping taxes low and deregulating the healthcare industry, South Dakota will continue to thrive through the pandemic and beyond.