Entries Tagged 'economy' ↓

Taxpayers duped once again by the pie in the sky dreams of developers and big business

I was very reluctant to post about this story, simply because it was no shock to me that this happened. I was waiting for the day to come when we would read this;

The company that would have been the first to build in the new Foundation Park development park has decided to look at other locations.

Stuless Whunder makes a great point;

Others question the role of taxpayer-supported public entities in the area of private development, especially if urgency to find companies to fill parcels at Foundation Park drives down the market.

In that same vein, I question why taxpayers (State and Local) are putting up over $20 million in infrastructure for a project that didn’t even bother to secure a solid purchase agreement? We should have never authorized the expenditures unless we had a ‘real’ promise from a prospect, we went ahead with the possibly of spending $20 million of tax dollars based on a ‘letter’.

Wow!

Another reason we can’t run government like a business. Unlike private enterprise, government shouldn’t be in the business of taking risks and land speculation.

As for saying I wasn’t shocked that this happen, it is because we have had precedent. For one, just peruse available industrial park land the development foundation and other realtors have available already. It’s like deciding to build a 3 car garage for your Fiat 300 and bag of golf clubs. There isn’t a need for more land, it’s a classic case of urban sprawl. Remember Phillips to the Falls? How did that work out for taxpayers? We spent millions so we can have a new location for German Fest. Also don’t forget the fiasco called EB-5. There is also the employment factor (I’m guessing that is why Logistics Buddy backed out). Capital One is leaving solely based on the fact we don’t have enough workers. There is also the promise of living wage jobs that has never been hammered out before we moved ahead with this project. But hey the city is throwing thousands of dollars at businesses for the “Welfare for Want Ads” project.

I know I often sound negative and am really a cynic at heart, but it pains me to be right about something so wrong. I hope things will work out in the end. But hey folks, it’s Meth Week in Sioux Falls, so don’t worry about failed developments and petition drives. We gotta nip this dang problem in the butt. You go Tiger Mike!

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

citydebt2016

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.

wealth

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?

april

Is the city of Sioux Falls proposing Platting fee increases?

arty-street

 

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

teacher3

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

Support the Minimum wage increase

min-wage