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South Dakota Collects Least State Taxes in Nation in 2011

The Census Bureau yesterday issued its report on state tax collections for 2011. Some fascinating numbers:

  • South Dakota collected $1.38 billion in state taxes in 2011, the least amount collected by any state in the Union last year.
  • The next-lowest collecting state, Montana, raked in $2.30 billion, 67% more than South Dakota did.
  • New Hampshire and Vermont have similarly small populations and a lot less ground to cover with highways and snowplows. Yet they collected $2.32 billion and $2.69 billion, respectively (ranking 48th and 46th).
  • North Dakota collected $3.82 billion, almost triple the amount South Dakota has to spend on schools, bridges, and a social safety net. $1.88 billion of that came from Bakken-frackin' severance taxes.
  • North Dakota led the nation with a 44.5% increase in state tax collections over 2010. Minnesota performed ninth best on this metric, rounding out the small group of states that saw double-digit increases, with a 10.1% boost in state tax revenues.
  • The Census Bureau says South Dakota saw an 8.9% increase in sales tax revenues. Meanwhile, the state is increasing its per-student funding for education in the Rapid City school district by just 0.8%.


  1. LK 2012.04.13

    There must be something wrong with these statistics. It's a well known fact that low taxes attract business. Clearly, businesses are not coming here rapidly enough because SD needs to create a state slush fund to bribe, excuse me, entice businesses to come here.

    I'm sure the next legislative session can find a way to remedy the situation, Perhaps the state can collect only .69 billion in taxes next year. Surely, that amount will entice future business flock across the borders.

  2. Stan Gibilisco 2012.04.13

    North Dakota's revenue boom is easy to explain. It's the oil, of course.

    I'm glad to live in a low-tax state. But then, I wouldn't mind paying a penny more in sales tax if it meant that our teachers could get paid on a par with, say, Wyoming's teachers.

    We could also get the revenue by drilling in the northwestern part of our state. Maybe.

    I just don't think the people of this state will go for a broad-based tax increase, much less for any new taxes such as an income tax.

    So where does that leave us?

  3. LK 2012.04.14


    ND still 50% more revenue than SD even if one takes out the nearly 1.9 billion from the oil boom.

    On a more serious note than my previous comment, no one wants high taxes, but it seems that SD is doing its best to collect far less than every other state. Further, the state seems to be pushing off more of its responsibilities on county and city governments.

    Additionally, SD's system is regressive. The sales tax, especially on the essentials like food and clothing hits the poor hardest.

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