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Gov. Dennis Daugaard

PIERRE | Gov. Dennis Daugaard might call the Legislature into special session clarifying the power of state and local governments in South Dakota to tax remote sales of goods and services, his chief of staff said Wednesday.

“Yes, that is a possibility,” Tony Venhuizen said.

The special session would be in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in June that said states could impose taxes on remote sales made over the internet or through the mail. Venhuizen said the state Department of Revenue is working on how the Wayfair ruling would be applied in South Dakota.

He cautioned that a special session is “not a certainty.”

Venhuizen said the governor “has informed legislative leaders that a special session may be necessary late summer or early fall to expedite implementation. He wanted to raise the possibility now to give legislators more notice if it becomes necessary.”

Venhuizen later made a presentation Wednesday to members of the Legislature's Joint Committee on Appropriations about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision and the steps ahead.

He didn’t mention the special session.

The Legislature passed laws in 2016 raising the state sales tax rate to 4.5 percent from 4 percent and levying the sales tax on merchants that don’t have a physical presence in South Dakota but sell goods and services to South Dakota customers.

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The increase of one-half cent pays for relieving property taxes and improving teacher salaries.

An amendment by then-Rep. Jeff Partridge, R-Rapid City, requires the sales tax increase to be reduced for every $20 million generated in revenue from taxing remote sales.

Rep. Lance Carson, R-Mitchell, said Wednesday that legislative leaders have asked lawmakers whether dates in August would work for the special session.

South Dakota has held seven special sessions since 1997, according to state Legislative Research Council records. Two of those came during Daugaard's time. In 2011, legislators dealt with setting new districts for their elections, a process that is required every decade. The 2017 session created state laws on whether certain waters were open or closed to public use.

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