One legislator says it’s time to send South Dakota a “louder message.”
The state of South Dakota requires business and trade vehicles coming from Iowa to do work in South Dakota to buy a South Dakota license plate as well as its Iowa license plate. Senator Rick Bertrand of Sioux City explained the situation to his fellow Senators Thursday afternoon.
“If any of our guys are spilling over into South Dakota, they are required to carry a South Dakota license plate on their van, so you’ve got the Iowa license plate and then they get the drill out and right on the back of the door,” Bertrand said, stopping at this point to try to replicate the sound of a power tool, “all four screws go in and they have to put a South Dakota license plate on the back of the van.”
According to Bertrand, it’s a big issue for heating and air conditioning businesses, plumbers, electricians and locksmiths who are located in Iowa, but work on both sides of the border.
“Anybody that has a van or a truck that’s driving out there, doing the day-to-day trades,” Bertrand said.
Bertrand convinced his senate colleagues to vote yesterday to require South Dakota businesses to buy an Iowa license plate if the company’s service vehicles do runs into Iowa.
“I don’t want to say it’s battle at the borders, but there’s no doubt about it that places like South Dakota look for every opportunity…to draw companies across the border,” Bertrand said. “….What I’m seeing now is a shift of fleets that have names from Iowa starting to move into South Dakota for this licensing. It’s about 400 bucks a van. Take that times 12, 16 van fleets — that’s real money every year.”
Senator Tod Bowman lives in Maquoketa, way over in eastern Iowa near the Mississippi River and he backs the move to require South Dakota service vehicles to carry an Iowa plate, too, if they’re on service calls in Iowa.
“This is kind of sending a message that what’s fair play for one is fair play for the other,” Bowman said.
The proposal was endorsed by senators on a voice vote. That vote came during Thursday’s debate of a massive budget bill that outlines a host of state spending, including the amount of general state aid for K-12 public schools. Senator Bob Dvorsky, a Democrat from Coralville, acknowledges legislators are far from crafting a final version of a new state budget.
“Obviously this is the start of a long, long process,” Dvorsky said.
The current state budgeting year ends June 30 so legislators, at the least, must meet that deadline or risk some disruption in state government operations. Key legislative leaders say they’re “hoping” the 2015 Iowa General Assembly can complete its work by the end of May.