Lawmaker Says Financial Trusts Employ 450 In SD’s Economy

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A state lawmaker from Pennington County said Thursday he’s “thrilled” more financial trusts have chosen South Dakota for their locations.

The comments came during a legislative panel’s first hearing on Senate Bill 51. It seeks 10 sets of changes to South Dakota’s laws regulating trusts.

Senator Jeff Partridge said there 100 trusts are running in the state, employing about 450 people with a $30 million payroll.

“We’ve a long-standing trust-friendly environment in South Dakota,” the Rapid City Republican told the Senate Commerce and Energy Committee.

He added, “This is a way to keep kids in the state.”

Partridge provided a two-page handout to committee. The document included a statement that trusts paid more than $2.4 million in state bank-franchise taxes last year.

The proposed changes are mostly about resignations of trustees. It also would add conflict-of-interest exceptions.

State government has a governor-appointed task force of trust-industry representatives. Current president Carl Schmidtman, of Sioux Falls, testified for the bill Thursday.

So did Rapid City lawyer Patrick Goetzinger who said he’s been on the task force since its 1997 start.

Goetzinger said the task force works hard each year, sorting through possible changes before formally proposing any. “It’s like weeding a garden. It’s like rotating crops,” he said.

State Banking Division director Bret Afdahl also spoke in favor. No one spoke against it.

Senators voted 7-0 to recommend the full Senate pass the bill, moving it across the rotunda to the House of Representatives to consider.

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