Voters Adopt Amendment D


As of November 8th, South Dakota Voters seemingly voted to adopt Medicaid Expansion, the political landscape has changed within the State itself, and while more than half of our projected revenues already fund Social Welfare type programs, this newly adopted program will more than ever, seemingly bankrupt the State the State, let alone deplete our already stated "Future Savings" going forward.

The Department of Social Services shall cooperate with and support each county in the development and maintenance of a statewide centralized resource information system accessible to any resident of this state. The resource information system shall be accredited by the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems and shall provide information for and referrals to resources for a person in a crisis or disaster; resources for social services, human services, legal assistance, financial assistance, or for other related needs; and assistance for mental health, physical health, or substance abuse.

Our source happens to be the 2023 South Dakota Annual Budget, recommended by the Governor, adopted by the S.D Legislature during the legislative session this past year between January 15 and March 30, 2022.The "stated" mission of Social Services is the following:Strengthening and supporting individuals and families by promoting cost effective and comprehensive services in connection with our partners that foster independent and healthy families.

As per SDCL 1-36-37 of South Dakota Public Law - Within the State of South Dakota, Social Services is divided up into 9 divisions all of which I list here below:

  1. Administration
  2. Economic Assistance
  3. Medical Services
  4. Children Services
  5. Behavioral Health
  6. Board of Counseling Examiners - INFO
  7. Board of Psychology Examiners - INFO
  8. Board of Social Work Examiners - INFO
  9. Board of Addiction and Prevention - INFO

The Department itself has an annual stated budget for 2023 of over $2 billion dollars, while the State contributes roughly half of that figure in general taxes collected by the State Government itself, and appropriated by the legislature each year.

While the State of South Dakota is projected to receive gross tax revenues of roughly $1,975,868,924 dollars from a collection of a variant list of public taxes paid of and by the citizens of the State itself, the list of taxes included are - Sales and Use Taxes, Lottery Taxes, Contractors Excise Tax, Insurance Company Tax, Unclaimed Property Receipts, Tobacco Taxes, Bank Franchise Tax, Other Misc-Taxes (paid by Game, Fish, Parks to the Building Authority, Board of Regents Lease Payments to the Building Authority), One-Time Receipts, Transfer from Budget Reserves, Obligated Cash Carried Forward Funds, and Prior Period Adjustments.

Notice, that none of the listed 'taxes' derive from taxes and revenues collected by the Department of Transportation, nor the Game, Fish, or Parks other than for recorded "lease payments" paid to the Building Authority itself.

With the growing belief that 'we' must expand Medicaid in South South Dakota, one must stop and review, and assess exactly where the revenues come from, and how they are appropriated thru the Social Well-Being of the State first, before one can exactly make the assertion of whether or not we can afford to expand the program(s) across the State itself.

As per the 2023 stated budget, here is an accounting of how the tax revenues will be spent between July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023:

  • $1,179,349 to Social Services to encourage and promote and help Individuals and Families to foster independent and healthy families.
  • $106,954,255 to Social Service in the name of Economic Assistance which goes to help assist in supporting 'self sufficiency' of families, children, individuals, individuals, elderly, and persons with disabilities by providing to them medical, nutritional, and financial services.
  • $749,006,970 is directed to Social Services to provide medical assistance to eligible South Dakotans under Title XIX of the Social Security Act in order to provide access to quality medical services.
  • $127,410,531 is directed to Social Services to provide parents financial means to support their children, to protect children by keeping children away from unsafe, harmful, neglected people.
  • $163,575,754 directed to Social Services to strengthen and support children in regards to Behavior Healthcare through prevention type services to foster healthy families.
  • $107,041 directed to Social Services to counsel families in order to keep and maintain quality marriages to keep families together.
  • $77,882 directed to Social Services to govern and manage the Psychology to foster better families by dealing with complaints.
  • $186,310 directed to Social Services to provide a foundation of managing addiction and prevention type services.

Slightly more than 50% of the revenues come from the Federal taxes collected through the Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid Programs as South Dakotans pay federal taxes. Much of the federal revenues derived from the 15.3% Tax that 'we' all pay on our net adjusted taxable incomes each year.

A Total Annual Budget of $2,324,000,000 Billion is dedicated to South Dakota Individuals, Families, Children, in the name of keeping Families together, to provide Healthcare Services, Food Services, and to foster Strong and Independent Families.

Total South Dakota "Tax" Revenues projected for 2023 are estimated to be $1,975,868,924 so when you do the math, nearly 50% of our "State Tax Revenues" are dedicated to Social Services. And if we were to expand upon Medicaid Services, the expected additional cost per annum would be another $30,000,000 million per year, while over the first seven years, the Federal Government has promised to cover 90% of that expansion cost, while as a State, we would have to determine how to fund the program(s) going forward from there.

This figure does not include the State's Enterprise Funds such as the Department of Highway Funds which collect a separate revenue source, or the Department of Game, Fish, and Parks which collect most their revenues from user fees, nor does it include property taxes paid by landowners, property holders, which are collected by the sixty-five counties of which get appropriated across all the School Districts, the counties, and municipalities themselves.

All together, the State of South Dakota has total "revenues" totaling roughly $4.5 Billion dollars when you account for all sources of revenues. And that is only State Taxes and Fees., The Federal Government contributes another $5.0 Billion towards all the Federal Programs, Services, and Institutions which of course get deposited into the State Treasury, of which the "State" is then obligated, or contracted to maintain and manage those federal programs, services, highways, etc.

With the two lobby groups, (1) the Medicaid Expansion Group wanting to expand Medicaid to additional citizens of the State, and (2) the Abortion Activists wishing to lobby to maintain the right to abort pregnancies, thus providing future healthcare services to thousands of individuals and kids, where will the additional monies come from? We would have to either cut state programs, services, yet alone cut public education, or the fact would remain, we would have to create a new tax, or raise existing taxes and fees.

Most importantly, expanding Medicaid Expansion would mean cutting key services to children, likewise families, who may depend on the funding sources today. For a Department that receives already slightly more than $2 billion dollars a year, and with so many individuals, families, and children needing such services, can we afford to cut the program, let alone afford to raise taxes on the people of South Dakota just to expand upon Medicaid? And, while we discuss banning the likes of Abortions in South Dakota, we are going to also need to manage Social Services much more prudently, as we look forward to protecting the lives of the unborn babies, allowing them to be born more frequently, yet alone helping to work with non-profits to find quality homes for all the new borns born in the years ahead.

While the right of the people to fairly taxed, and that all taxes must be equal is a bill of right in South Dakota as per Article 6, Section 17 which reads as - "No tax or duty shall be imposed without the consent of the people or their representatives in the Legislature, and all taxation shall be equal and uniform."

No law shall be passed granting to any citizen, class of citizens or corporation, privileges or immunities which upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens or corporations.

As we move into the future, we must ensure that as South Dakota Citizens, we do all we can to protect life itself, and as part of that objective mission, the full social well being of the State itself rests on the very notion that 'we' do not over tax the citizen, placing an undue burden on that citizen, to the point he or she cannot survive, provide for themselves, their children, let alone their own vested interests within the state. If we over tax the people, where then would the future 'revenues' come from, if the citizens themselves can not afford to pay the increased level of taxation that will be necessary to provide for the expanded costs to Social Services?

Focusing on strengths is always important in social work. Studying and observing the problem rather than working with others toward a solution is a fruitless endeavor. Social workers conduct research, create strategies to resolve social issues and play their role as part of the solution. — Edward Everett Hale, U.S. author, historian, and clergyman, best remembered for his short story in support of the Union’s Civil War effort, “A Man Without a Country

We suspect the lack of funding sources, and the fact remains, will Amendment D be challenged in the courts based on the fact that this is a "revenue type bill" being placed in the S.D Constitution, of which steals or takes power from the Legislature?

As a State that already gets more than $5 billion from Federal Taxes, and as a state, we fund Social Services by more half of our projected tax revenues as stated above, this will force the State to put another $29,000,000 a year into these funds, while collecting another $1,900,000,000 billion dollars from Federal Taxes.

The only place to take funding from, would be Public Education, and the means of using our property tax dollars for social welfare. And since the remaining 50% of State taxes and fees generally go to General Administration costs, let alone to such programs as the "Sales Tax Refund Program" to further fund low income, disabled, and seniors helping them to purchase food, clothes, pay for utilities, and rents - the need to create a new tax on the daily lives of South Dakotans may be the only other place to raise revenues, meaning we may need to adopt a State personal income tax, let alone a Corporate Excise tax on profits of S.D Businesses, all which may harm our excellent statewide economy.