As a result of a story breaking in the Watertown Public Opinion, and later examined in detail by South Dakota War College political blog, it appears that District 4 State House Candidate Jim Peterson is violating a property tax law which he had a hand in writing, and may be improperly receiving a 20% tax rebate for his property in Watertown.
Petersen’s property in Watertown had been declared as Owner Occupied with the Codington County Equalization office in 2011. However, Peterson is not registered to vote at this address. This requirement for voter registration to be tied to owner occupied households to receive the tax break was added in 2005 by House Bill 1002, a measure which Peterson co-sponsored while serving as a state Senator.
I’m issuing the call today for the Codington County State’s attorney to review the issue, and to ensure that Peterson is not able to receive the tax break, since he is claiming Revillo as his voting residence. The Codington County Office of Equalization needs to institute cross checking against the voter registration database to make sure that they’re performing their due diligence in following the law as well. And finally, I’m calling on Jim Peterson to give the money back.
As children, we learn on schoolgrounds that “Cheaters shouldn’t prosper.” Peterson is aware of the change he helped to add to the law, and it wasn’t fair or right for the county and school district to give the 20% rebate back to Peterson, who clearly didn’t deserve to apply for it in the first place, if he had no intention of changing his voter address.
Jim himself is saying it’s absolutely true that his voting residence is Revillo, not Watertown.
If that’s the case, it’s time for Jim to make it right, and to give back the tax rebate he should not have gotten.