As more pieces of legislation were introduced this week, the pace of work increased on the committee level and the floor of the House of Representatives. The fact that every bill will get a fair hearing, an opportunity to be heard and explained, and voted on is something all South Dakotans should be proud of. There is no special maneuvering done by leadership (of either party) to limit the introduction of any legislation. In short, honest South Dakotan values prevail in your state legislature.
The most significant legislation that was passed by the House this week was HB 1011. Heard first in our House Commerce and Energy Committee last Friday, this bill deals specifically with the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund which provides temporary financial assistance to workers who have lost their jobs, through no fault of their own, until they find other employment. This reemployment assistance program is financed by employers through payroll taxes, as no workers contribute to this plan. If this bill becomes law, South Dakota businesses will enjoy an estimated $18 million cut in state unemployment taxes. Because of South Dakota’s recent robust growth, we have more businesses hiring additional workers at higher wages. As a result, employer contributions to the trust fund have increased. Also contributing to the healthy status of the trust fund, is the fact that benefits being paid out are at its lowest level since 2007. To conclude, over 30,000 South Dakota employers will enjoy a substantially reduced tax rate that will likely mean more retained earnings for their business, hopefully to be invested back into their employees and businesses. The next step for this bill will be a hearing in the Senate Commerce and Energy Committee next week.
The most enjoyable thing that happened this week was the FCS National Championship SDSU Football team being welcomed into the Capitol with rousing applause from legislators and guests in the gallery. South Dakota native, Coach John Stiegelmeier, was appreciative and inspirational. Visiting with the student athletes was a proud moment for all of us.
As always, thank you for the opportunity to be of service. Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions, comments, and or concerns. – MW