South Dakota’s 90th Legislative Session Begins

Posted January 19th, 2015 in Uncategorized by isaac

 

The late Will Rogers once remarked “The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.” Last week, we opened the 90th session of the South Dakota State Congress—or Legislature—and right out of the gate, discussion began on increased vehicle and fuel taxes.

 

Central to the discussion is the fact that our taxes per mile have actually been going down, especially when adjusted for inflation. But as the Federal Reserve continuously prints money, and Obama’s draconian policies prohibit more U.S. oil production, costs to build and repair roads have been going up.

 

There have been multiple proposals, one by a summer study group which proposed $100 million tax increase, as well as one presented by the Governor during his State of the State address, which proposed increases totaling $50 million. The Governor’s proposal includes a $0.02 increase to the $0.22 per gallon state fuel tax (about a 9% increase), with an annual $0.02 increase until it is ended by the legislature. The Governor stated that If the legislature had indexed the gas tax to inflation for construction costs, the fuel tax would be $0.45 today.

 

If you want to understand the Governor’s proposal in detail, I would highly suggest watching his presentation. There is link to the video and outline on my website, isaaclatterell.com.

 

While there are many details that should and will be discussed about these proposals, I want to share a few big-picture things I keep in mind as I seek to represent your interests. First, $100 million would be the largest tax increase in South Dakota history. Many priorities, such as Education, are just as critical to our long-term success and these have to be considered in light of each other.

 

Second, the reason we have these discussions at all is because the Federal Government and Federal Reserve are out of control, far beyond their intended authority. With the Fed printing money (which devalues your dollar and causes inflation), and burdensome taxes and regulation increasing the costs of everything, now is the time to pass amendments to the Constitution using Article V which will return the power to you locally.

 

Third, fixing roads now is projected to save money and ensure lower taxes in the long term. If we allow too many roads to fall into fair and poor condition, we could end up spending more than double on maintenance than if we keep most of our roads in good or excellent condition.

 

Finally, just as important as authorizing tax increases is the spending authorization. The proposal in its current form also authorizes perpetual spending authority, without any oversight by the Legislature. We need to avoid situations with little accountability that lead to corruption or favoritism. If this is not changed, I know I won’t be able to support the proposal.

 

In the end, I will have to decide whether to improve the proposal and support it, or oppose it and work toward a better solution next year. Most importantly, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this proposal and any other issues we discuss this session. I can be contacted at 368-1002 or isaac@isaaclatterell.com

Governor’s State of the State Address


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Representative Latterell joins Craig Dewey on The Facts Sunday

Posted January 4th, 2015 in Uncategorized by isaac

I had a great discussion with Craig Dewey, host of The Facts on KCPO TV, which airs today.

We talked about the upcoming legiative session, my new position on the Judiciary committee, and various issues that will be decided this year. We spent considerable time discussing the proposed $100 million tax increase for highway funding.

Proponents of the plan say that if we don’t fix our roads and bridges now, costs of repair will escalate in the future and we will need even more funds over the long term. Also, fuel taxes per mile driven have actually declined over time creating a shortfall in available funds.

On the one hand, many believe that infastructure is the most basic function of government. And, if it ends up being true that investing $1 now will mitigate $3-$5 of costs in the future, a conservative approach would direct resources towards roads today to ensure resource availability for other areas tomorrow.

But it’s also important to consider this proposal in a broader context. The Governor announced in his budget address that sales tax revenues came in below estimates, signs that the Fed’s money printing and phony stimulus bubble is showing signs of bursting. This would be the largest tax increase in South Dakota history, at a time when our national debt, inflation, and economic situation have gotten even more dangerous and I am predicting will see another severe correction in 2015.

As far as the specifics of the proposal, there are a few concerning points that jump out immediately. I am opposed to the wholesale (hidden) tax increase that switches from cents per gallon to a percentage basis. It creates volatility, automatic gas tax increases when gas prices rise and consumers are already hurting, and places a unnecessary burdens on businesses to upgrade or replace their software systems. Also, if we are going to continue to lean toward user fees as a better way to fund government, I believe our structure should better reflect that heavy trucks may, according to one study, do up to 99% of the damage to roads, while paying around a third of the revenue.

We also discussed he balanced budget amendment andconvention of states project, as well as a bill I will bring to help children with Down Syndrome have a better chance at life.

There’s not enough money in politics

Posted March 18th, 2014 in Uncategorized by isaac

When I was elected to the legislature, my goal was to empower the people. Like many I have met in our district, I am not satisfied with the political legislative process where entrenched special interest groups, represented by high-power lobbyists and lawyers, are able to pass or preserve laws that benefit a select few at the expense of the people. In most cases, the people are unaware of the protectionist laws that increase your cost of business, reduce your choices, or fund an old program that has been made obsolete by technology.

 

These laws and programs are nearly impossible to repeal, and new ones are added every year at your expense. Why don’t enough legislators say no to laws that benefit lobbyist-backed groups, but harm the people? First, the benefit to the special interest group is substantial, but the harm to each individual person is small. For example, a law that costs the average South Dakotan $20/year in higher prices could create an economic windfall for a group of 1,000 specialists to the tune of $16,000 each!

Continue Reading »

Why dogs bite

Posted March 3rd, 2014 in Uncategorized by isaac

LionDogs bite. Also, you should never slap a lion in the face. Why? Read on!

This week the House had on its agenda SB 75, which would require that city ordinances regarding dog ownership apply to all dogs, and not single out a specific breed.

We all want safe neighborhoods, and most everyone agrees habitually bad owners should be banned from having any dogs, but the evidence presented to me in committee showed that breed-neutral ordinances will encourage public safety and prevent good dog owners from being unfairly targeted because someone misidentified their dog’s breed, or a bad owner across town had a similar breed of dog.

While pit bulls have gained a reputation for being tenacious and powerful, there are some compelling reasons why we should pause before we strip away the property rights of our upstanding neighbors Continue Reading »

Press Release: Resolution Calling for a Convention of States Introduced in South Dakota

Posted February 5th, 2014 in Uncategorized by isaac

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 3.09.39 PMFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Pierre, SD – Representative Isaac Latterell (R-Sioux Falls) has filed House Joint Resolution 1005, calling for an Article V convention of the States for the limited purpose of proposing amendments to the U.S. Constitution which would impose fiscal restraints on the Federal Government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the Federal Government, and limit the terms of office for Federal officials and members of Congress.

“I have always believed that the solutions to America’s problems will come from the people, not from Washington,” said Rep. Latterell. “Fortunately, the authors of the Constitution gave us the power to fix Washington without the approval of Congress or the President, who will never vote to limit their own power. I am excited to see that as so many South Dakotans rise up to join this effort, their optimism for America rises also, as we finally work together on a solution as big as the problem.” Continue Reading »

Proposals for School & Fire Districts Affect District 6

Posted February 3rd, 2014 in Uncategorized by isaac

This year, I continue to serve on the Taxation Committee and Local Government committees. Bills dealing with these subjects are first read on the House floor and then are referred to the respective committee, which operates much like a school board or city council meeting. The sponsor and proponents come forward to describe the bill and persuade us why the law should be changed, and then opponents come forward and make their case against it. We then move on to questions, committee discussion, and action.

If the bill does not receive a favorable vote of the majority of the members on the committee, the bill is usually considered dead. But if it passes the committee, we send it to the House floor with a “Do Pass” recommendation, where it is debated again and every member of the house gets a chance to vote on it.

Both Rep. Herman Otten and I serve on the Local Government committee, and last week we heard House Bill 1087, which would allow Rural Fire Protection Districts to Continue Reading »

The American Experiment

Posted January 14th, 2014 in Uncategorized by isaac

Today marks the beginning of South Dakota’s 89th legislative session. As we embark on this exercise of self-government, I want to take a brief look back at how we’ve gotten here, and ask for your help.

Throughout history, the world has been governed by the aggressive use of force. This was no truer than on July 4th, 1776, when the thirteen united States of America declared their independence from the king of Great Britain who was using force to exercise, as the founders put it,  “an absolute tyranny over these States.”

But it was not quickly, or with a desire for war that the founders made this declaration of independence. Nor was it without repeated requests for relief from the taking of their property, infringements of their freedom, and imprisonments without due process which were being done by the king at that time.

“In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

In the previous quote, taken from the Declaration, the founders are essentially saying, “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck… It’s a duck.” The king may think of himself as a noble prince, Continue Reading »

Rep. Latterell discusses Convention of States on the Facts

Posted January 13th, 2014 in Uncategorized by isaac

The playlist below has 3 video segments of January 12, 2014 “The Facts” with Craig Dewey, discussing an Article V Convention of States

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Protected: On the way home from Pierre

Posted October 2nd, 2013 in Uncategorized by isaac

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Thank you for your vote of confidence! Now comes the real work, and I value your input.

Posted November 12th, 2012 in Uncategorized by isaac

Thank you to all my wonderful neighbors, friends, and family for your awesome support on November 6th! I am very grateful to all those who voted and volunteered–and I am humbled by the opportunity to serve as your next State Representative! I’d appreciate your prayers as I take on this responsibility.

As your next State Representative, I want to work even harder to understand your perspective and make sure you are being represented in Pierre. If you live in district 6, Please contact me to give me your thoughts on issues such as Tax Policy, Transportation, Regulations, Education, Agriculture, or issues of corruption, injustice, or waste that you see in our State. I truly value your input and would love the opportunity to understand your point of view.

Isaac Latterell and Herman Otten will be the two State Representatives to first represent District 6 in the South Dakota Legislature. District 6 includes Tea, Harrisburg, Lennox, and portions of southern Sioux Falls.