In his address to the legislature Tuesday, Governor Dennis Daugaard called on the tourism industry to make the half penny tax permanent. Daugaard said record numbers of visitors are being brought to the state, thanks in part to tourism promotions funded by that half cent tax.
Some Rapid City business owners say having that tax in place permanently, ensures the state will have marketing funds to lure in more tourists.
“This one actually is revenue generating tax, so you spend money to market to get people to come here to spend money,’ said Prairie Edge general manager, Dan Tribby. “So they spend more money and then that goes into the sales tax, so it really helps build up that income that the state has.”
Vice president of marketing for Black Hills Badlands & Lakes agrees. “It’s just one of those things where it’s one less stress. It’s one more thing that we can plan on and one more thing that the state and other agencies can really use,” added Mike Gussiass.
The half percent tax was put in place four years ago and is mostly funded by tourists. Gussiass says the tourism industry brought in $1.8 billion to South Dakota in 2011. He says traffic is already up about 6% this year.