Entries Tagged 'South Dakotans' ↓

Nursing pay in South Dakota ranks 48th in Nation

Should this surprise any of us? Not really, I have had at least two friends leave SD for better pay in nursing. One of them got her pay doubled when she moved to Washington State. I was also told by both of them, working conditions were not the best either in SD (one had worked at both major hospitals and the other worked for a private surgical center).

It seems while we hear places like Trail King get a bad rap for bad pay, and Denny Sanford kicking in $25 million to train better welders, he ought to be paying the nurses better that work for his name stake.

As I said at a recent city council meeting, we don’t have a ‘jobs’ issue in South Dakota, we have a ‘wage’ issue. Teachers and nurses are not the only ones at the bottom of the pay scale in SD.

South Dakota – $50,000 Rank: 48th
Average Registered Nursing salaries for job postings in South Dakota are 25% lower than average Registered Nursing salaries for job postings nationwide. The average salary ranks 48th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Reflectx Staffing, Avera Health, FocusStaff, and Huron South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation Jobs.

Chad, you are my beer hero!

Do we need to recruit workers to South Dakota & Sioux Falls?

We don’t ­ – But I will get to that in a moment.

With all this hub-bub about the lame ass marketing skills coming from our own community development office and the SD Republic party’s personal ad agency (who continues to mysteriously win all of the State’s RFPs) it has gotten me thinking about the bigger picture, or let’s at least say the bigger more important objective of workforce development.

Last week I was having a conversation about this topic with a Sioux Falls city councilor, and I asked him, “Why do we need to recruit people to Sioux Falls? Isn’t Sioux Falls large enough? Why do we need to grow?”

But more importantly we both had an ‘Ah-Ha’ moment. Why not make salaries, job training and the quality of life for the people who already live here better FIRST. Then once we have declared success on that front, we can show the rest of the country (or even the universe) how we have made South Dakota better for our existing residents with boundless opportunities to advance in your career.

Let’s face it, the first step to a better quality of life is a fatter wallet. I chuckle at these commercials where people are fishing on Bayliners, driving Harleys and recreating in the Black Hills. Guess what, all of these things take money, and with having one of the highest rates of impoverished children in the country, I don’t think too many South Dakotans are driving to the food bank on their Harleys.

Let’s face it, companies in South Dakota CAN afford to pay better, but I will also defend them by saying it is a two-way street, workers that already exist in this state are going to have to be willing to learn new things and make an effort.

We don’t need to recruit workers to our state, we need to recruit companies to make better lives for their current employees which means intensive on the job training, education, and paying above a living wage. It will take a REAL and PERSONAL investment from the companies, not just taxpayers, but hey that’s how the FREE market works. We can’t continue to depend on corporate welfare for these companies to get workers.

If we don’t try this approach, no number of idiotic TV commercials by Loser & Shister or billboards in Downtown Minneapolis of Smiling Mayor Mike are going to turnaround our (qualified) worker shortage.

I have often said “All politics are local” well the same goes for a strong workforce. Let’s cleanup our neighborhood first before inviting other neighborhoods over for a block party.

Obama to Speak in SD in May

Leave it to Nancy Naeve to break the news;

President Obama will visit South Dakota in May to deliver the 2015 commencement speech for Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown.

The President told KSFY’s Nancy Naeve about the visit in an exclusive interview on Monday. South Dakota is the only state Obama has not visited since he took over the Oval Office.

 

Common Sense killed 135

This failed for a reason, and it wasn’t the political power machine that killed it, it was many people with common sense behind the scenes lobbying against higher regressive taxes that just burden the working poor. It is counterproductive to fund projects on the backs of people paying higher taxes on food and utilities. If we really want to tap a hidden tax source it would be an income tax on corporations and high wage earners. Other then that, it astonishes me that the mayor of SF would support this, a person who is often telling us we are swimming in money. A little history lesson for Mr. Whitney (who apparently has no clue what has been going on in city politics for the past 10 years) We recently switched our water/sewer over to ‘enterprise funds’ this was a way to direct our fees into fixing infrastructure, which makes sense, though I think it was done to justify higher rates and to free up CIP money for ‘play things’. We don’t need higher sales taxes in Sioux Falls, especially under an administration that gets giddy every time they open the city checkbook. The next time the city needs extra money for NEEDED infrastructure, I suggest they cut elitist indoor tennis centers named after our esteemed emperor instead of looking for more ways to screw the poor.

Of course, let’s look at Whitney’s version as to why this went down (am I the only one who doesn’t laugh at his satire pieces but think his serious columns are hilarious?)

Consider the plight of Senate Bill 135, a sales tax measure that appeared reasonable enough when first submitted by Republican state Sen. Corey Brown back in January.

Yes proposed by Mr. South Dakota ALEC himself. An organization that likes to have taxes paid by the working class, while corporations run free from taxation. I can almost guarantee Brown saw this as a way to protect his corporate interests.

Bolstered by the South Dakota Municipal League, the bill would have granted cities and towns the ability to impose up to a third penny of general sales tax — if approved by voters — to pay for capital expenditures such as land acquisition, street or bridge repair and other infrastructure projects.

And that is the major flaw with the legislation, it’s wording, infrastructure projects can mean anything from a bridge, a sewer pipe or an indoor pool.

“Voters had to approve it, it was specifically for infrastructure, there was a hard sunset on it and it could not be extended or renewed,” says Yvonne Taylor, executive director of the South Dakota Municipal League

The ‘Sunset Clause’ song and dance. We know how that rolls. Remember the 2nd penny implementation for roads? Well we don’t entirely spend it on roads anymore, just a portion of it. Or the ‘entertainment tax’ that was used to pay off the Washington Pavilion bonds. Well that was paid off, but we are still paying the tax. The sunset clause is a ruse, because as soon as the project is paid for, government will find another project to spend it on. History has shown this. Do you study history Yvonne?

Gov. Dennis Daugaard, for all his talk about local control, wasn’t thrilled with the idea of cities being able to address their own revenue issues, especially with his push for highway and bridge funding taking top priority in Pierre. If someone was going to raise taxes, it was going to be him.

Well, I’m not one to defend our tight wad governor, but it seems he was using common sense by pointing out raising taxes and fees for road repairs on a state level then allowing municipalities to also implement a tax increase at the same time wouldn’t sit well with taxpayers. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out.

Deputy state revenue director David Wiest opposed SB135 in Senate committee, saying consumers already pay four cents on the dollar in state sales tax and that collecting more locally would push the burden too high.

“That’s not going to work for citizens in the state,” he told legislators. “They won’t permit it.”

And he is right. I haven’t talked to one single person who thought this was good legislation. The other flaw pointed out to me by my conservative friends was that it should take a 60% majority to approve a tax increase, this was NOT in the bill, and I believe that is why a lot of legislators didn’t like it.

Throwing out a scary number (especially one that could not possibly come to fruition and that Taylor of the Municipal League called “mind-boggling”) was gimmicky politics at best, but the tactic was repeated in op-ed pieces and voter outreach spearheaded by the state chapter of Americans for Prosperity.

It may have been ‘gimmicky’ but not to far from the truth. In fact if we raised the taxes by a penny just in Sioux Falls, it would be around a $50 million dollar tax increase. That’s not a gimmick, that is the truth.

“It’s no secret that Sioux Falls would have reaped the rewards of this legislation, but cities and towns all across the state were clamoring for its passage as well,” Huether said this week. “It was a full-court press for local control.”

Local control?! Let’s talk ‘gimmicks’. Besides the public approving such a regressive tax increase, that is where our ‘control’ would end. We have a city administration that is famous for handing out money to special interests with little public input. In fact, our mayor is so brazen about it, after cutting a $500,000 check to the Indoor Tennis Palace, he slaps his name on the building. Now that’s local control!

Those projects total an estimated $100 million in a city that has about $30 million a year to take care of all of its maintenance, reconstruction and extension efforts, city public works director Mark Cotter told state legislators. To use public bonds, the city would spend more than “$52 million in interest alone” over 20 years to pay for the work, he added.

$30 Million? What did I say earlier about the 2nd penny? The fact is we have been robbing it (CIP) for play things and bond payments on those play things. If we truly spend ALL of the 2nd penny on it’s true intent, we would be driving on streets of gold, and they would be paid for. Instead we consistently rob the cookie jar for entertaining ourselves. The money exists for these projects, make no mistake, but it takes an administration willing to make prudent decisions about infrastructure instead of worrying about what color the bathrooms will be at the Events Center (something I heard he was very involved in).

After the efforts made in Sioux Falls and the personal involvement of Huether to articulate the importance of the bill to the state’s largest city, those votes did not go unnoticed.

“Sioux Falls brought out the big guns to promote the passage of this critical bill,” Huether said. “Then to find out it was some of our very own legislative team that didn’t even let us enter the corral for the gunfight was very disheartening.”

Oh Yes Mike, it’s always about you, isn’t it? This bill was defeated because it just wasn’t fiscally responsible. Besides, what gun fight did you get into? Did you testify in Pierre on it’s behalf? I don’t recall hearing about that?

Darrin Smith, the city’s community development director, said that the bill’s defeat is a setback for Sioux Falls growth.

“I don’t think there’s any question that this will put significant economic development opportunities we have at risk,” Smith said. “This would have allowed us to invest even more in infrastructure to create more jobs and diversify our economy, but you can’t be successful if you’re afraid to lead, so we’ll do the best we can now.”

Wow! Darrin, did you just read what you said? If we were so afraid of risking economic development in Sioux Falls, why did we borrow $117 million for an Events Center? Or rob Federal levee paybacks to build an indoor pool? Or have $37 million in surplus accounts? I don’t think we are risking anything, except over extending ourselves on play things.

“I cheer for our governor more often than not, but this is one topic where I respectfully disagree,” Huether said. “I am not fighting against my governor, but rather fighting hard for South Dakotans, east of the Missouri and west. I know he is too.”

Mike, you cheer (and cry) for one person, and we know exactly who that is.

Bravo to the state’s county treasurers, especially Pam Nelson

It seems the state DMV was trying to pull a fast one on it’s residents;

South Dakota’s Division of Motor Vehicles says people who register or renew vehicles on or before March 31 will pay the current fee, not a higher fee that goes into effect April 1.

The agency clarified its stance after county treasurers said they were told to charge the higher fee if vehicle owners whose registrations expire in May try to beat the April 1 increase approved by state lawmakers during this year’s Legislature.

Pennington County Treasurer Janet Sayler says the directive caused an “uproar” among county treasurers who felt they would be violating the law by charging higher fees before April 1.

Sometimes you have to give a big thumbs up to our local elected officials for calling out the state beaucrats and their poppycock.

2014 SD Economic Development Annual Report

This was one of the pages in the report. What does it say to you? Where the rich get richer and the working poor get the shaft. This is so insulting to the hardworking, over taxed workers of South Dakota.

goed

 

State Legislature Snakes in a Smokeout on Municipal Tax increase

Just when you think something is done, it isn’t.

A maneuver on the House floor today called a “Smoke out” will bring SB135 (city sales tax increases) to the House floor even though a committee had voted it down.   ALL the Rep’s will vote on it now.

Please contact all your Rep’s before noon tomorrow (Tue).

Choose some point or points you think might resonate:

— Very likely there will be significant tax increases this session for highways. So this is not the time to be adding more tax increases to what already is probably coming!

— Talk about a tax increase! This one is a 50% increase in sales tax for cities! (2% to 3% is a 50% increase!) This is huge, especially for Sioux Falls, where population is growing, and sales tax revenue too – much faster than the population. The Argus just reported Sioux Falls has a reserve equal to 37.2% of its budget. Some cities may need new revenue, but even for those, this is the wrong way to raise it.

— This bill raises the most regressive tax we have!

SB135 hits harder on the lower-income people, who already pay a greater portion of income than the well-off. Legislators like to tout what a low income state SD is. Well, we do have lower taxes overall, but only for some of us. People with lowest fifth of incomes pay a higher portion of income than the national average.

— This bill would take more food off tables. Families with limited budgets for food already lose 3 weeks worth of food over a year to state and local tax. This bill would cost them 3-and-a-half weeks worth.

— SB135 is for special projects and requires a local vote, and legislators love “local control.”  But you know how a city can call just about anything a special project and bring out supporters in a low-turnout election. (streets for Sioux Falls. How special is that?)

Please help these Rep’s see that meeting basic human needs (food and heat) should have their higher priority than local control.

TO CONTACT REP’S: Email them.

The format is  rep.lastname@state.sd.us

Call and leave a message for one or two Rep’s,  605-773-3851

Today is the day to weigh in on SB135

Today is the day to weigh in on SB135, because the House State Affairs committee takes it up early tomorrow (Friday), 7:45AM.

This bill hikes the most regressive tax we have.

SB135 hits harder on the lower-income people, who already pay a greater portion of income than the well-off. Legislators like to tout what a low income state SD is. Well, we do have lower taxes overall, but only for some of us. People with lowest fifth of incomes pay a higher portion of income than the national average.

This bill would take more food off tables. Families with limited budgets for food already lose 3 weeks worth of food over a year to state and local tax. This bill would cost them 3-and-a-half weeks worth.

Talk about a tax increase! This one is a 50% increase in sales tax for cities! 2% to 3% is a 50% increase! This is huge, especially for Sioux Falls, where population is growing, and sales tax revenue too – much faster than the population. Yesterday’s Argus reports Sioux Falls has a reserve equal to 37.2% of its budget. Some cities may need new revenue, but this is the wrong way to raise it.

SB135 is for special projects and requires a local vote, and legislators love “local control.”  But you know how a city can call just about anything a special project and bring out supporters in a low-turnout election. (streets for Sioux Falls. How special is that?)

Please help these Rep’s see that meeting basic human needs (food and heat) should have their higher priority than local control.

rep.Bartling@state.sd.us

rep.Bolin@state.sd.us

rep.Gosch@state.sd.us

rep.Haggar@state.sd.us

rep.Hawley@state.sd.us

rep.Langer@state.sd.us

rep.Mickelson@state.sd.us

rep.Munsterman@state.sd.us

rep.Solum@state.sd.us

rep.Stevens@state.sd.us

rep.Verchio@state.sd.us

rep.Westra@state.sd.us

Americans for Prosperity opposed to 3rd penny for municipalities

I don’t often agree with the right wing boloney coming from Americans for Prosperity, but I do agree that raising another penny for municipalities is certainly a horrible idea. They have their reasons to oppose the tax increase, which are the usual choking of economic development, etc., etc. and just being opposed to taxes in general. My reasons are a little different, sales taxes are a regressive tax, and South Dakotan’s impoverished and middle class are already paying too much.

I can see why this will get broad support from both sides of the aisle in our state legislature. Democrats like extra tax money to spend on play things, this is why our mayor is just in love with the idea. Republicans in the state most likely support it, because any increase on sales taxes means a shift away from a corporate or income tax, something that scares the crap out of them.

Let’s face it, there are many things wrong with the proposal. First off, even if I supported the legislation, which I don’t, I would require a 60% majority for passage of the tax increase. I would also eliminate the ‘sunset’ clause, because let’s face it, they are just a myth sold to voters.

But I guess one of the reasons I vehemently oppose the tax increase, especially in Sioux Falls, is because we seem to have a bad habit already of spending our CIP 2nd Penny on playthings, I can’t imagine the out of control spending we would have for projects for the special interest groups if a 3rd penny ensued. You think indoor pools and tennis centers are an unneeded expense now, give the city another $100 million plus a year and you will see them on every corner.

We need responsible taxing, and this is where Americans for Prosperity and I disagree. We need to eliminate the sales taxes on food, clothing and utilities and we need to implement a corporate income tax to foster economic development, or even better yet fund indoor tennis facilities that 99.9% of us sales tax paying peeps will never use.

Besides, the CEOs and their children need something to do during the winter besides counting their frozen moldy money.