Of course this is a topic that won’t have much effect of tomorrows election but it has been rolling around in my head for months. One thing that has really bothered me about several of the initiatives and amendments on this years ballot has to do with changing something just for the sake of change without any included plans for the voids caused by these changes.
Amendment D for instance seeks to totally revamp the way South Dakota collects property taxes. I am sure most readers have heard all the rhetoric coming from both sides of the issue including how our current system is confusing and needs changing or how it could hurt young first time house buyers. I assume most voters will decide on how to vote based mainly on their situation and how it might affect them but one thing regarding this issue that is rarely mentioned is how it will require our legislature to have to fix up to a dozen holes that will be created if it passes.
Even more concerning is initiated measure 7 which seeks to outlaw video lottery. Video lottery currently generates over $100 million for the state and if passed would require some sort of tax or other way to replace the lost revenue. Again, voter’s positions on video lottery will be probably be determined by their personal beliefs or experiences. You can choose to believe that it will reduce crime or get rid of an enabling factor for problem gamblers (not that they still could go to one of the several Native American casinos). The proponents of initiated measure 7 did not provide an alternative source of revenue to replace what the state will lose which like Amendment D, would require that the legislature find alternatives after the fact.
Now you may be asking where the business part of my post title comes into play? Being someone that spends my day in the business world, I deal with changes in policies on an almost daily basis. Most successful companies encourage suggestions from employees that would change how the company does business, but what is different between the business world and the political world is that most businesses, while encouraging change, also require that you give alternatives to the procedure or policy your are looking to change.
Again, it is too late for this years election but I have an idea for a ballot initiative for a future election. How about a law that states any ballot measure or amendement to the constitution that seeks to change the way the state conducts business or collects revenue must include an alternative to replace what has been changed? When I vote on such issues it sure would be nice to know what the alternative to the change would be instead of leaving it up to our legislators at some later date.