Burying the lede, South Dakota style!

You can die on Mars. Or, you can live in South Dakota.

The linked article discusses South Dakota’s public perception problem when it comes to attracting people and businesses to move to the state. The headline refers to the tag line they’ve come up with for their marketing campaign. It’s different, and I can see it being effective at getting folks’ attention. But, the most important part of the story appears almost three-quarters of the way in to the piece:

“One of our mantras for business is no state income tax,” Costello said. “That didn’t resonate with individuals. Individuals viewed that as maybe the state doesn’t have good education or fire protection or crime might be high or the park system not adequate. That was almost a quality of life deterrent.”

“No state income tax” wasn’t viewed as a positive and might have even been a negative. Let that one sink in. It’s certainly something I believe, but I’m surprised that “no state income tax” didn’t resonate with the population-at-large, a group who are almost certainly more conservative than I am. It almost brings a tear to my eye.

I submit that this is Very Bad News for the Grover Norquists of the world. If people recognize that taxes equal desirable services and infrastructure, then Norquist’s “drown the government in the bathtub” message is going to fall on deaf ears. This strikes me as a good thing.

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