Compiled by the Office of Secretary of State Joyce Hazeltine
SDCL 12-13-23 requires the Office of the
Secretary of State to prepare and distribute public information
concerning constitutional amendments, initiatives and referred
measures. This pamphlet is prepared by soliciting statements from
the proponents and opponents of amendments and measures.
The title, explanation and effect of a vote for each ballot question
were provided by the Attorney General. No other statements on this
pamphlet reflect the opinion of the State or the Attorney General.
The information was compiled by the Secretary of State as supplied
by the writers, was not verified by the Secretary of State and does
not reflect the position of the State regarding the legality or
effect of the amendments or measures. The Secretary of State does
not guarantee the accuracy of any claims made by the proponent or
opponent writers in this brochure.
Pro -- Referred Law 2
Savings to taxpayers and increasing the amount of
unclaimed property to be found and returned to South Dakotans are
the reasons this proposal should become Law.
Testimony presented before the Legislature by the Department of
Revenue estimates initial savings of $100,000 per year in
administrative costs. This can be achieved by the economies of scale
that the Department of Revenue can provide, i.e., by allowing 42
existing revenue auditors plus support staff to include the search
for unclaimed property within their regular audit activities. Since
the Department of Revenue already has contact with businesses
responsible for the collection of sales taxes, or the payment of
other taxes to the State, it can very effectively absorb the search
for unclaimed property with minimal expense.
Since 42 auditors would make more contact with the business
community, additional unclaimed property could be
discovered...making the cost of recovery even more efficient than is
Finally, the Department of Revenue can use the same strong
relationships it must maintain with other states for effective tax
administration to promote strong cooperative efforts in interstate
search for unclaimed property and the rightful owners of that
More efficiency, effective use of existing manpower, and strong
interstate cooperation make this proposal a very good idea worthy of
Submitted by: Sen. Mike Rounds, 806 Cherry Dr., Pierre, SD 57501.
Senator Rounds represents legislative district 24.
Con -- Referred Law 2
Four years ago South Dakotans elected
Dick Butler as their new State Treasurer after he campaigned on a
promise to clean up the office and improve collections and
management of unclaimed property such as abandoned bank accounts,
insurance policies, and securities.
State Treasurer Butler kept his promise--collecting record-breaking
millions from banks and corporations and faithfully returning these
monies to rightful owners. Treasurer Butler controlled costs while
depositing record amounts to the general fund after expenses and
paid claims. He brought to the office a new responsive attitude of
processing claims with a desire to pay rather than deny.
Preferential treatment for certain powerful banks was stopped in its
In response, the legislature and Governor retaliated with
legislation to take the Unclaimed Property Division away from State
Treasurer Butler and move it to the revenue department, the
tax-collecting agency under the governor’s office.
South Dakota citizens reacted by collecting 22,000 signatures
referring this bad law to a vote--a law the Sioux Falls Argus
Leader labeled a "power grab, pure and simple."
In defense, the bill’s sponsors suggested it might save money.
However, comparisons show Treasurer Butler’s office is already among
the most efficient in the nation. A majority of states entrust
unclaimed property to their State Treasurer. Few place it in the
hands of tax collectors as the Governor and legislature seek to do
because unclaimed property is private property, not tax revenues.
We believe it perilous to put these duties under the governor’s
office. The time will come when our governor is cozy with a big city
bank or even a small country bank and helps them avoid collections.
Under the current system and as the 1994 election for State
Treasurer demonstrated, the elected State Treasurer remains
accountable to the people--not to powerful financial institutions.
To keep authority with your elected State Treasurer--Vote No on
Referred Law 2.
Submitted by: Sen. Bernie Hunhoff (District 18), PO Box 175,
Yankton, SD 57078; Sen. Rebecca Dunn (District 15), 320 N Summit
Ave., Sioux Falls, SD 57104; Rep. Pat Haley (District 21), 766 Utah
Avenue SE, Huron, SD 57350; Rep. Larry Lucas (District 27) PO Box
182, Mission, SD 57555. These legislators were the sponsors of the
referendum petition on this law.