SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — South Dakota grocery shoppers say they’re encouraged about the possibility of the state sales tax on food being repealed. Governor Kristi Noem’s campaign promise to repeal the state sales tax on grocery items if she is re-elected indicates growing bi-partisan support for such a move.
Lawmakers’ efforts to repeal the state grocery tax have failed in previous years, including this year’s session of the legislature. But Governor Noem’s announcement is focusing new attention for a repeal that Democrats, including her opponent Jamie Smith, have long supported. Shoppers are hoping both parties can set aside political differences to get the grocery tax off the books.
Mark Smith, of Tea, considers himself a frugal grocery shopper.
“I’m a meat and potatoes guy. I can about 150 pounds of meat for whatever coming up, so I’m prepared,” Smith said.
But even well-prepared, frugal shoppers see a potential repeal of the state sales tax on groceries as a hedge against rising food costs.
“It’s gone up and there’s people that have very limited income so it could be important for a lot of people, could be for me,” Smith said.
We did some checking and found that Sioux Falls shopper Ellee Spawn would have saved 55-cents off her $12.33 purchase if there were no state food tax.
“I just basically bought enough stuff to make tuna salad for lunch today. Imagine if I bought groceries for the entire week, I would have saved quite a bit,” Spawn said.
Some shoppers say they cross the border into states that don’t have a grocery tax, like Minnesota, and do their shopping there.
“My daughter lives in Worthington, I stop in Worthington when I’m over there to visit, or I’ll stop in Luverne on the way back,” Spawn said.
Shoppers like Spawn, looking to save money during a time of high inflation, wonder if South Dakota lawmakers are ready to pull the plug on the grocery tax.
“I think there’s political will. I’m just not convinced there’s political courage to do so,” Spawn said.
Shoppers also said any money they might save from a food tax repeal could go to paying off utility bills and necessities like clothing and gasoline.