Daugaard signs first bill: tourism surtax

Successful bills have started to pile up on Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s desk, but he waited until today for his first signature so he could make it one of his top initiatives: making the state’s tourism surtax rate permanent.

Without House Bill 1066, the tax on visitor-related purchases such as motel rooms during summer months was scheduled to fall from 1.5 percent down to 1 percent.

The governor, tourism promoters and the tourism industry all supported extending that tax on themselves. That’s because the revenue from that tax went to fund tourism marketing campaigns and cultural events that they argued paid back the tax revenue manifold.

HB 1066 swept through the Legislature like an army of Normans, drawing only six no votes in the two houses.

Daugaard has nine other bills awaiting his signature.