User uShare Login | Register
Login
Register

Along with posting photos, videos, and stories, your uShare account lets you post Classified Ads, recipes on What's For Dinner, and Announcements.


23° View Weather Current Conditions Sioux Falls Change Location
Set Weather Options

RADAR LOCATION

TEMPERATURE LOCATION

Share your Photos, Videos, and Stories on uShare! Click here to get started.

KELOLAND.com | Sioux Falls News & Weather, South Dakota News & Weather, Minnesota and Iowa News

[0] My Saved Articles
Find local businesses
on the KELO Pages!

 

Funding Priorities

June 6, 2011, 10:09 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Funding Priorities
South Dakota Democrats say a law passed by the legislature pits economic development against education funding.

House Bill 1230 would set up a large project development fund to bring more business to the state. Democrats say an effort to refer the law to the 2012 ballot is a fight over funding priorities, while supporters of the measure say party leaders are misguided.

But, more than 300 people are circulating the petitions to let voters decide if a large project development fund passed this past legislative session is the right way to spend taxpayer money.

"We felt that the people of South Dakota probably would like to have a say in how we spend our money, and that this was a very good way to put it in front of them and say, 'Is this the best use of the limited resources we have in this state?" South Dakota Democratic Party Chairman Ben Nesselhuf said.

The law would set aside 22 percent of the revenues from the contractor's excise tax the state collects and give grants and incentives to companies looking to locate in South Dakota. Estimates show it would amount to about $16 million a year.

"We thought we were pretty well poised to try and create jobs," Steve Willard, the executive director of the South Dakota Electric Utility Companies, said.

Supporters of the law, like Willard, say it's especially important to have this fund during an economic downturn.

"You've got businesses trying to figure out what to do in Illinois, what to do in California; you're trying to figure out what to do in Arizona and so it's the perfect time for us to be competitive," Willard said.

Despite the potential that the new fund will bring new companies to South Dakota, no Democrats voted for the bill, including Sioux Falls Senator Angie Buhl.

"I thought it was not a good use of our money and a misplacement of our priorities, frankly," Buhl said.

Democratic leaders say they aren't opposed to economic development but they are opposed to taking money out of the contractor's excise tax, money that ultimately is taken out of the state's general fund. They argue it's money that could go to struggling schools or hurting healthcare providers that suffered cuts during the last legislative session.

"At the same time while they were doing that, they were creating a new fund. Taking money out of the general fund, a new corporate slush fund, up to $16 million a year. To do that at a time when we're making massive cuts to our constitutionally obligated programs like education and Medicare," Nesselhuf said.

"I don't think you should let Ben Nesselhuf decide that the business community and education community don't get along because we do," Willard said.

Supporters of the bill say the fund will help generate new business and new construction and ultimately bring in more dollars, which means the amount that goes into the general fund won't take a big hit.

"In theory, the large projects are going to drive an awful lot of that contractor's excise tax, so it makes it essentially self-funding," Willard said.

Willard says when more companies come to the state, it will also bring in more taxes that can go to education.

"If that fund just piles up, then it means congratulations; we're delivering a lot of growth. Well that's going to bring jobs. That's going to bring sales tax. That's going to bring property tax and those are all things that lend itself to education down the road, so it just seems short-sided," Willard said.

Buhl says the decision comes down to the public's funding priorities and that's why Democrats are trying to get 16,000 signatures to put this issue on the ballot.

"I think that folks are really receptive to the idea that we should fund education and Medicaid first before we start looking at handouts to corporations," Buhl said.

But Willard says this is nothing but a partisan issue that is aimed at dividing the business community in South Dakota and the state's school districts.

"This is essentially a Democrat fight that pits the two against each other," Willard said.

It could soon be up to South Dakota voters to decide which side they agree with.

The large project fund won't be set up until January 1, 2013, so getting the issue on the 2012 ballot will not have an affect on starting up the program.

Previous Story

Next Story


Comments







 
Find Local Businesses on KELO Pages!

You may also like

Parker Teen Dies In One Vehicle Crash

4/12/2014 10:18 AM

16-year-old Tonya Anderson from Parker, SD died in a one vehicle crash west of Sioux Falls on Highway 42 on Friday.

Full Story
Woman Killed In Sioux Falls Home

4/16/2014 6:01 PM

Sioux Falls police are investigating a murder in the southwest part of the city.

Full Story
SF Woman Dies In Crash Near Brookings

4/12/2014 10:34 AM

A Sioux Falls woman died in a two vehicle crash on I-29 south of Brookings.

Full Story
Missing Girls Case Update On Tuesday

4/15/2014 7:15 AM

Authorities plan to release an update on the investigation into the 1971 disappearance of two South Dakota girls.

Full Story
Remains Found In Car Are Missing Girls

4/15/2014 1:39 PM

After more than 40 years, the families of two missing teenage girls now know what happened to them.

Full Story


Events

 
 
KELOLAND TV: 501 S. Phillips Avenue, Sioux Falls, SD 57104
Phone: 605.336.1100 · Breaking News call: 1-800-888-5356
Web Site Design and Custom Programming By: Lawrence & Schiller© 2014 KELO-TV -- KELOLAND.COM -- ALL RIGHTS RESERVED