Entries Tagged 'economy' ↓

UPDATE: Sioux Falls City Debt 2016

This is a graphic I updated from 2012. Total city debt actually went down about $25 million since 2012. I wouldn’t say the city has a ‘debt’ problem, we have a ‘spending’ problem.

Click to enlarge the graphic

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Interesting Wealth Graphic of Sioux Falls

The Argus did a graphic of wealth in Sioux Falls. Not surprising to me, something I have known for awhile. Over two-thirds of households in Sioux Falls make under $50,000 a year, over a third make below living wages. And we wonder why food banks are growing leaps and bounds in this town.

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Why hasn’t the Public had a City of Sioux Falls Financial report since April?

The mayor is set to give his CIP presentation next Tuesday, yet, we really don’t have any context where the money is coming from, or what it is projected to be.

In fact, there hasn’t been a financial report (publicly) since April of the March numbers, and the April report was quietly released on the city website on April 30 (not at a public informational meeting).

The returns are the lowest in years, in fact, even the entertainment tax is down. Could it be the boomtown has tapped as much as it can? Are revenues leveling out?

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Is the city of Sioux Falls proposing Platting fee increases?

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I have to admit, when I saw this proposal (DOC: Platt-fee-increase) I wondered what city I was living in. After all the lies we were told several years ago about how the developers were going to kick in 50% or more while increasing our taxes, I am still skeptical about what is up.

Stay Tuned.

Let’s raise the ENTIRE tide in this state

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Are you as sick of hearing about it as I am? WE NEED TO RAISE TEACHER PAY! And we need to do it with an increase in taxes.

No we don’t.

First off, the money exists to increase education funding, it’s about priorities that our governor and state legislators make when it comes to funding education. Elect more socially conscious representatives that understand an educated society is a better society, and we can fix the education funding problem in Pierre. Keep electing backwoods hillbillies that are more concerned about shooting critters and unborn children (instead of educating the children that are already born) and there will never be more teacher pay.

Secondly, even if it was about raising taxes to increase teacher pay, why would any worker in this state support a tax increase to pay teachers more while their wages remain stagnant?

They won’t. This notion that somehow we are going to convince the hardworking citizens of South Dakota of another unnecessary tax increase to benefit one sector of our workforce (public teachers) just won’t fly.

So you ask, what is the solution? Don’t get me wrong, I think teachers should get paid better. A LOT BETTER! But I also think nurses, welders, plumbers, construction workers and hospitality workers should get paid better also in our state. This is why teachers will never have the support of other working South Dakotans for a salary hike, because we get tired of you whining about a pay increase when you won’t go to bat for the rest of us. Many workers in South Dakota in multiple fields are leaving the state in droves for better pay, we are all in this together, not just the teacher. Heck the state with the help T. Denny had to create an indentured servant program to keep welders here (Dakota scholarships).

My point is simple, when the teachers advocating for higher pay realize this just isn’t about them, but about all South Dakota workers, we will advocate for them, but they need to advocate for us to, you know, the ones paying their salaries.

I’m all for higher teacher pay, but are teachers for higher pay in other fields also? I’m guessing they are. Share the love.

Kind of reminds you of Sioux Falls economic recovery after the recession

Wall Street Journal, “An Unfinished Riff: The New Orleans Economy Ten Years After Katrina,” by Leslie Eaton and Cameron McWhirter:  “In the years since the storm forced out about half the metropolitan area’s residents, the population has rebounded to 1.25 million people, 90% of its pre-Katrina level…But as the $135 billion rebuilding winds down, federal employment data reveal a local economy increasingly skewed to low-wage jobs, especially restaurant work, one of the few sectors now employing more people than before Katrina. Those jobs drag down average incomes, analysts say, widening the economic divide between whites, who are generally richer than before, and blacks, who aren’t.”

Seems our state has plenty of money to fund education

So is the Governor and his administrators lying to the public when they say there is no easy solutions to raising teacher pay? The Mercatus Center disagrees;

South Dakota ranks 3rd among US states for its fiscal health, based on its fiscal solvency in five separate categories.

South Dakota’s strong fiscal position in FY 2013 was driven by very high revenues relative to spending and by low levels of debt. The state’s cash position indicates that South Dakota had between five and eight times the amount of cash needed to cover short-term spending in FY 2013. South Dakota’s revenues exceeded expenses. Long-term liabilities accounted for 9 percent of total assets, and the state had excess assets after meeting its debts. Debt levels were among the lowest in the nation at 1.3 percent of state personal income. Under its own accounting assumptions, South Dakota’s pension system was fully funded. However, when calculating the pension liability on a guaranteed-to-be-paid basis, the unfunded liability amounted to $6.7 billion.

After reading this, I thought I may be living in another state and don’t know it. We often hear the constant drum beat from Pierre that ‘the money isn’t there’ not just for education, but we heard it with road funding also. Unless the accountants at the Mercatus center got their wires crossed, it seems the state could afford more money for education, roads and even sending some of their extra revenue to strapped counties so they don’t have to continue to opt-out. So why is the state hoarding money that could be spent? Isn’t that what we pay taxes for? To be spent on programs to help the residents of our great state. If I knew the state was interested in keeping a savings account, I say just reduce my taxes instead, and I will take care of my own savings.

The Mercatus Center also has a fascinating blog.

Paycheck to Paycheck

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Support the Minimum wage increase

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Turn That Frown Upside Down: A Heartwarming Tale of Debt and Deficits in the Modern Economy

Dr. Stephanie Kelton’s keynote address to the students, faculty, and visitors at Augustana College’s (Sioux Falls, SD) Undergraduate Research Symposium on Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 10am.