Dear Mr. President and Members of the Senate:
I am returning to you Senate Bill 98 with my VETO. Senate Bill 98 is entitled, "An Act to allow certain municipalities to charge a higher occupational tax."
Senate Bill 98 is a fifty percent tax increase. It allows business improvement districts in Deadwood to increase the hotel occupancy tax on rented lodging from $2 to $3 per night. Local officials clearly intend to increase this tax if they are allowed to do so.
The property tax opt-out already allows local officials to raise additional tax revenues. I do not support expanding the ability of local governments to raise taxes, especially when such a raise cannot be referred to a public vote.
In my first State of the State Address, I said, "A recession is the worst time to raise taxes, and if you send me a bill to raise taxes, I will veto it." South Dakota has recovered from the recession, but I continue to believe that it is a mistake to raise state taxes, or to make it easier to raise local taxes. For that reason, I oppose this bill and I ask that you sustain my veto.