Ending the Tax is Better than a Rebate System

The food tax refund program that South Dakota tried missed most low-income families.
It returned less than 1/10 of 1% of the total food tax to South Dakota homes, despite much more need. (2012)
These types of programs are inherently ineffective for low-income people.
Would ending the food tax be better?
You bet!


Getting this help to people must be automatic. The only way to reach everyone who is negatively impacted is to take the tax off, or at least reduce it, for everyone. This is the most efficient, effective approach.

Why were eligible families missed?
> Not knowing about the program
> Not wanting to use a government program
> Avoiding stigma
> Not doing the paperwork. Some simply do not do well at paperwork, no matter how simple the state tries to make it. For example, one former recipient is a 91-year-old who understood nothing about the program. But his daughter-in-law social worker helped him sign up. With the rebate for the tax he had paid, he was able to buy almost a week's groceries. But twice he threw away the paperwork from the state for his renewal, thinking it was junk mail, and the daughter-in-law had to make phone calls to Pierre to have him re-instated. She says "Not everyone has someone like this looking out for them."

Thousands more were ineligible due to the tight income limit but are economically struggling.


Advantages of Ending or Reducing the Food Tax
• No one missed by the income limit.
• No one missed because they don’t know about it
• No one missed because they don’t understand
• Nursing homes and child cares would benefit.
• No one missed for any reason.
• No need for a government program
• The benefit comes at every grocery purchase. No waiting for refunds. No paperwork.
• No refund check to get stolen.
• No refund check lost due to the family's changing address.
• No one missed because they want to save their dignity
• No fraud, investigations, or prosecutions
• More grocery money available where children’s health and education are negatively impacted by food tax
• More and better food accessible by people with diabetes, heart disease, or other conditions where lack of optimum nutrition puts them at great risk.

End the Food Tax

Dignity, not Charity

1/25/14