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Letter: Food sales tax cut would have helped taxpayers more
The recent news story in the Sioux Falls media on the impact of the Legislature’s 0.3 percentage point sales tax cut estimated an annual saving of $127 for a median-income household. It seems like a meager sum for such a highly touted tax cut. But I think even $127 is overly optimistic. That would take sales-taxable spending averaging $3,527 a month. How likely is that?
Out of a $60,000 median income comes withholding, and then rent or mortgage, property tax, then car payment, insurance on home and car, gas for the car, health insurance, water bill, childcare or after-school care. There could possibly be some charity giving or retirement savings, a boat payment, fishing license, driver license, school lunch, medicines. After various expenses such as these, which are not subject to sales tax, you can imagine the typical family would have less than $3,500 a month left to spend on things subject to sales tax, although there are many.
LETTER: A family without a state
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Please keep in mind that half of South Dakota households would benefit even less, because that is what median income means: Half have more; half have less.
Many of us preferred the proposal to take state tax off groceries. With it, even groceries averaging $250 a month would realize a bigger tax cut than $127 a month. Many families, especially those with children, have much higher food costs. For a family of four eating at home, the United States Department of Agriculture’s “Thrifty Food Plan” costs $979 and month as of February. That food, the cheapest of the USDA plans, will get an annual sales tax cut of only $35 next year. If the Legislature had instead passed the food tax cut, they would save us each an average of $528.