SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Jeff Griffin wouldn’t swap his position with anyone across the country.
The current President & CEO Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce continues to see a booming local economy despite national and global uncertainty over when the COVID-19 pandemic will end. Adding to the already flourishing Sioux Falls’ economy will be an estimated additional $600 million for households in Sioux Falls from $1,400 direct stimulus checks approved through the American Rescue Plan Act.
“We are in a hot economic environment for sure,” Griffin told KELOLAND News. “I find the future to be very, very bright.”
Marshall Marketing projected $606 million will come from the stimulus checks for an estimated 46,482 people listed as single households with an income under $75,000, collecting a total of nearly $92 million. For married households with incomes under $150,000, an estimated 117,572 people will collect $514 million. Each household that qualifies also receives an additional $1,400 per child. In total, the stimulus impact is projected at a 50% increase over the CARES Act money from March 2020.
How additional money can have an affect locally depends on how the dollars are spent. Griffin said money spent locally turns over seven times.
“We know the dollars churn within a local economy,” Griffin said. “People receiving their stimulus checks, we’d ask them to consider spending them locally.”
And money spent locally aids sales tax revenue — the primary funding for city and state governments. South Dakota saw steady sales tax even during the worst months of the COVID-19 pandemic. From calendar year 2019 to calendar year 2020, South Dakota saw a 5% increase in sales tax revenue. For the city of Sioux Falls, the 2021 general fund is projecting 70.1 million in sales tax, which is 38% of the city’s budget.
In 2021, sales tax returns have remained above previous years as sales tax revenue was up 16% in January 2021 over January 2020, while February 2021 was up 8% over Feb. 2020. Sales tax is 62% of the state budget.
“We saw good numbers in our sales tax which tells me people were spending those dollars,” Griffin said. “Sioux Falls and South Dakota are in a far different spot than much of the nation. We see other states and individuals to pay off some debt.”
The main intent of the first stimulus checks was to help people impacted by lockdowns to catch up on bills or rent. But in Sioux Falls, with unemployment rates under 3% and a higher than average labor participation rate, Griffin noted many stimulus checks this time around will continue to aid many people already earning regular paychecks.
“At least for South Dakota, the excess capital short term is going to be good for the local economy,” Griffin said. “Whether they are spending it or investing for their future, I think the news will be good for the families getting those dollars.”
With such a plethora of economic growth, demand has never been higher for some industries like housing, labor force availability and education. Griffin said Sioux Falls continues to attract new business and people, pointing out more than 5,000 people moved to Sioux Falls in the past year.
“Matching the needs of growth is certainly a better goal than managing decline,” Griffin said.
As for the toll on future American taxpayers and future economic problems, only time will tell.
“We’re in historic times,” Griffin said. “The national debate, as you compare us to other states it is apples to oranges, when states are using this money to pay off the debt crisis. History will tell how this plays out on a national level.”