Recent actions by the national government are increasingly endangering the viability of the smaller communities around the state. Possible policies, as outlined by Senator Thune, include cap-and-trade, bovine greenhouse gas emissions fines, and unfriendly attitudes toward our 2nd Amendment rights. Revitalizing our smaller communities is essential to the overall health of our state, and such policies will really hamper smaller communities’ ability to survive. Imagine how hard it would be for a small town, with already limited financial resources, to be expected to pay roughly 50% higher utility costs as a result of cap-and-trade policies (according to the PUC). Place on top of that the changes that are being enacted in the agricultural sector, as many small towns benefit economically from the surrounding farming community. Farmers who do not fully comply with cap-and-trade policies will have penalties levied upon them, and cattle ranchers will have to pay penalties for greenhouse gases produced naturally by their livestock. Adding in all these factors, communities will have a tough time making financial and budgetary ends meet with the decreased tax base, which severely hurts their solvency.
It will take strong leadership in the next few years to assert our state’s rights, particularly under the 10th Amendment, to fight back these taxing policies and ensure that our smaller communities are able to survive, flourish, and grow into strong and vibrant places once again.