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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Vote YES on 10 to stop tax dollars for lobbying


By Dena Espenscheid
Regional Field Director
Yes on 10 Campaign

Tax-subsidized politicians, lobbyists, government contractors, and union officials who oppose the common sense ethics reform of Initiated Measure 10 have something in common. They all want to keep spending or making money off your tax dollars.

The Secretary of State’s official description of Measure 10: “An initiative to prohibit tax revenues from being used for lobbying or campaigning, to prohibit governmental bodies from lobbying, to prohibit government contractors from making campaign contributions, to prohibit government contracts when the contractor employs a legislator or legislative staff member, and to require contracts with government contractors to be published.”

Voting yes on Initiated Measure 10 stops politicians from using your tax dollars for lobbying or political campaigns.

For example, all 66 counties send local tax dollars to the National Association of Counties, a Washington, D.C. lobbying group. You pay your county taxes. Commissioners use your tax dollars to pay for NACo’s lobbying.

For example, federal gun control. NACo’s 2008 lobbying agenda: "NACo supports the requirement of a reasonable waiting period for purchase of a handgun to allow for a records check, where possible, to ensure the purchaser is not ineligible under existing federal law to possess a handgun.”

Ditto the South Dakota Municipal League, also funded by local tax dollars and in turn a dues-paying member of the National League of Cities, another Washington lobbying group. As are the individual cities of Brookings, Ft. Pierre, Rapid City, and Watertown.

Tax-funded NLC lobbyists also push Congress for federal gun control. NLC Resolution 2008-49: “The National League of Cities calls upon Congress to assist municipalities across the nation in combating crime by taking the following actions: reinstate the ban on semi-automatic assault type weapon sales to civilians.”

If you’re an NRA member, you voluntarily pay dues to help NRA lobby Congress against gun control. Your county commissioners force you to help pay for NACo’s lobbying in favor. City residents pay twice for gun control lobbyists -- through your city taxes, and county.

Speaking of taxes, the tax-funded South Dakota Association of County Commissioners used your tax dollars to launch a ballot campaign to increase alcohol taxes $2.56 a gallon.

The tax-funded SDACC also contributed $45,000 to oppose a ballot measure seeking to repeal the tax on cell phone users.

The tax-funded Municipal League campaigned against a ballot measure to repeal the sales tax on food.

What about your property rights? Last year, Rep. Herseth Sandlin introduced legislation to protect private homes and farms from condemnation by local government officials seeking more tax-lucrative commercial real estate developments.

Agricultural groups supported the bill: “(Our) policy supports efforts by Congress to rectify the potentially negative impacts of the 2005 Kelo court ruling that upheld state and local eminent domain authority to seize private property for commercial economic development purposes."

Tax-funded NACo lobbyists opposed the bill, saying, “NACO is opposed to any effort by Congress to preempt state and local land use authorities.”

The National Association of Townships and Towns’ tax-funded lobbyists also opposed the bill.

Measure 10 opponents complain that if they can’t keep using your tax dollars to fund their lobbying for gun control and higher taxes and against private property rights, you’re “gagging” their free speech. Tell them they have no right to use your money to pay for their speech. Vote Yes on Measure 10.


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