Senate passes legislation elminating food tax refund program
State Senators have passed a measure that eliminates the food tax refund program. House Bill 1206 takes the existing funds in the program and allows the Department of Social Services to give the money to organizations that help the needy with food assistance.
Senator Todd Schlekeway of Sioux Falls says House Bill 1206 more efficiently helps those in need of food assistance than the current food tax refund program. He says right now the program has funds that aren’t being used and only 260 South Dakota families actually benefit from the program.
“We still have the need,” says Schelkeway, “It’s important that we do this. The state recognized that people struggle with the cost of food and access to food. So we still have the need and this offers us a better alternative to cover more families with need. We have the means. We have the 850-thousand dollars left in the general funds. Let’s use them.”
Opponents say getting rid of the food tax refund program opens up the possibility of repealing the tax on food completely.
House Bill 1206 passed the Senate by a vote of 24 to 9. It now goes to a conference committee.
By Jackelyn Severin
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