Sales tax revenue higher than estimated in South Dakota despite COVID-19


PIERRE, S.D. — South Dakota’s sales tax was better than the legislative-adopted estimate by $6 million, which is largely in part to the state not issuing a statewide closure and lock down.

Also not locked down: The 2020 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Sturgis, S.D., city officials were pressured into not postponing the rally by businesses who rely on the week-long event to bring in most of their year’s revenue.

Attendance reached 217,778 in total for the first four days of the Sturgis rally. The expected attendance is 400,000 people, according to Sturgis city officials.

The city received a letter from attorney Eric Chadwick, who represents a local gift shop business which noted the city could face litigation if the city declares the event postponed which results in lost revenue sales to the vendors.

“The current efforts by the City are clearly designed to shut down commerce relating to this year’s 80th Sturgis Rally. Such a result will negatively affect Rushmore at least through lost revenue from sales to vendors,returns of merchandise from vendors, and the like. Any such losses will be directly attributable to the City’s effort to shut down commerce,” the letter reads.

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The city council voted to hold the rally instead of postpone it with restrictions in place to help mitigate COVID-19 spread.

The South Dakota Department of Transportation released the traffic count report for Day 4 of the rally.

  • Friday, Aug. 7: 49,835 entering the rally; down 4.3% from the same Friday last year.
  • Saturday, Aug. 8: 54,804; down 8.0% from Saturday last year.
  • Sunday, Aug. 9: 56,149; up 1.1% from Sunday last year.
  • Monday, Aug. 10: 56,972; down 6.8% from Monday last year.
  • Four-day total: 217,778; down from 228,348 at the same point last year.

The state’s total number of coronavirus cases is now at 9,713, according to the South Dakota Department of Health. Of those positive cases, 8,507 have recovered. Currently 63 people are hospitalized in the state with COVID-19.

Active cases are at 1,060, down from Monday. Current hospitalizations are at 57, the same as Monday. The death toll remained at 146.

A total of 932 new tests were reported on Tuesday.

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