Both those who oppose and support Initiated Measure 25 on the general election ballot are making their pitch to voters this month.
It would increase the state tobacco tax, if approved, and create a postsecondary technical institute fund to help lower tuition costs, while providing financial support to the state’s four technical schools. State Representative Mark Mickelson, who helped draft the measure while serving in the legislature as House Speaker, says the tobacco companies are fearful of seeing their sales volumes decrease. He said opponents are creating uncertainty with claims the initiative would give a blank check to government officials.
But Don Haggar with Americans For Prosperity South Dakota disagrees. His group has partnered with the South Dakotans Against Higher Taxes Coalition to oppose the initiated measure.
Mickelson counters saying they have polled the initiative with the numbers showing a more than 60-percent voter approval. He said there isn’t a South Dakota legislator or other politician who doesn’t recognize the importance of helping technical education and that South Dakota residents, on whole, aren’t fans of tobacco or the associated health care costs associated with tobacco use.
Haggar says that taxing tobacco isn’t a stable source of revenue. He says past history shows tax dollars decrease as tobacco costs increase.
More information on Initiated Measure 25 and other ballot issues listed on November’s general election ballot can be found on our website.