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Published March 21, 2013, 09:44 AM

SD governor vetoes boost in fertilizer fee

Gov. Dennis Daugaard vetoed a measure March 20 that would increase a fee imposed to fund the state’s inspection of commercial fertilizer, saying it is an unneeded tax.

PIERRE, S.D. — Gov. Dennis Daugaard vetoed a measure March 20 that would increase a fee imposed to fund the state’s inspection of commercial fertilizer, saying it is an unneeded tax.

The measure would have doubled the 15-cent-a-ton inspection fee paid by distributors on most fertilizer, with the extra money going to the Agricultural Research Station at South Dakota State University for research into fertilizer and soil nutrients.

The Republican governor said he supports the research station, but its budget is already being increased by more than 10 percent with the equivalent of eight new full-time employees. He said the fee increase would not offset the cost of fertilizer inspection, but instead would impose a tax to benefit a government agency.

“While I strongly believe that we should not raise or create any taxes while our economy recovers and stabilizes, the new tax in Senate Bill 115 is particularly objectionable,” Daugaard wrote in his veto message to the Legislature.

The measure’s main sponsor, Sen. Shantel Krebs, R-Renner, said she believes supporters can get the required two-thirds majorities in both the Senate and House to override the governor’s veto.

Krebs said the increase is supported by companies in the fertilizer industry. The research could help avoid some regulation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, she said.

“We’ve got to make sure our producers and our farmers know exactly what they’re putting on the ground and we’re up to date so that we can avoid any interruption from the EPA getting involved in our livelihood,” Krebs said.

Sen. Corey Brown, R-Gettysburg, who opposed the measure when it went through the Senate, said he hopes lawmakers uphold the governor’s veto.

Companies in the fertilizer industry would not bear the burden of an increased fee because they would pass the added cost on to farmers who buy their products, Brown said.

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