Entries Tagged 'Taxes' ↓

Sales Tax Revenue down EVEN MORE than last year

Click to enlarge.

Finance Director Tracy Turbak will be making his monthly report at the informational meeting at 4 PM. So far, the sales tax growth is even more dismal than last year. For the first 3 months we are at 0% growth. Ouch.

Since I am not an economics major, I really can’t tell you why this downward spiral is happening. Obviously the farm economy isn’t doing well, but with Sioux Falls having so many residents, you would think this would not affect us this much. I still kind of wonder if we really didn’t recover from the last recession. Wages continue to be stagnant, and that is obvious with all the food banks growing and the lack of affordable housing.

Expanding Gambling in SD is NOT the solution to Economic Development

Sorry to see Yankton is doing so badly. I have never understood why, they sit on one of the most beautiful lakes in South Dakota. The economic development options on Lewis & Clark, I would think would be endless. Look at what Okoboji has done without a Casino on their waterfront.

Expanding gambling options in South Dakota is NOT the answer. The irony is that they would only be pulling gamblers from Fort Randall and Nebraska Indian Casinos, they would not be creating any new clientele.

Oh, and Gambling SUCKS and is a poor way to fund government. But what is the most disheartening is that this idea is being pitched by a Democrat that should know the pain gambling has caused our state;

“I think the challenge is we need to compete with Omaha, Lincoln and Minneapolis,” Senator Bernie Hunhoff said.

If that was true, which I don’t think it is, why do it with gambling?

I’m extremely disappointed with the short-sightedness of Yankton’s leaders. There is a reason why the Republicans have had control of this state for over 40 years, because the Dems in leadership roll over and play dead.

Suckers! Everyone of you!

This is what I said about the sales tax increase last February for teacher pay;

As I have said, it is purely ignorant to raise regressive sales taxes for teacher pay when the money is already there (heck, probably sitting in reserves). This is about presenting intelligent plans to raise teacher pay, not knee jerk reactions. People want this increase SO bad, they are willing to fall back on fiscally irresponsible and ignorant taxation plans to get it. That my friends is called GREED.

They went on to pass it anyone. And guess what, they could not have done it without the help of the Democratic legislators (and as Pam Nelson has pointed out, maybe a reason why they failed so bad this past election season). The worst part about it is they had a better plan, but didn’t present it, instead they went along with the Republican Governor’s plan, and guess where that got us? Exactly where I knew this would end up!

The House of Representatives on Tuesday night approved Senate Bill 35, which strikes the specifications for how the half-cent sales tax are used. Appropriators on Wednesday morning said that given the strained state economy and lower than expected revenues, education funding would remain flat.

Only one year later and the Governor (who cooked up the sales tax increase to begin with) already wants to rob the pot. ONLY ONE YEAR LATER! And once it happens, there is NO going back. The tax will NEVER be repealed and the teachers will never fully receive the money.

Some accuse me of being too cynical. But it is my cynism that sees this crap a mile away. When crooks are in power for the past 40 years, you don’t just wake up one morning in 2016 and say, “Let’s trust them this time, it’s for the teachers.”

Can you hear that sound . . . it gets louder the closer you are to Pierre.

South Dakota State Legislature proves they still hate the poor & working class

No surprise, every year this comes up, and every year their desire to stick it to the poor (and frankly anyone who eats food) is maintained;

The House Taxation Committee voted 11-3 Tuesday to defeat the bill. It would have increased the state’s 4.5 percent sales tax rate on other goods and services to remove the tax on food for home consumption.

Long a popular idea among Democratic lawmakers, such food sales tax bills have failed in the past. Democratic Rep. Ray Ring, the bill’s main sponsor, says the measure would help make South Dakota’s tax structure less regressive.

Business organizations, Republican lawmakers and the executive branch opposed the bill.

It is estimated that those on the lowest level of the income bracket in our state pay between 16- 20% of their income towards taxes, and the working class isn’t much better.

I’m against sales taxes to begin with, a horrible and regressive way to fund government, but taxing food and exempting stuff like advertising makes no sense at all. If we are going to tax food at the full 4.5% state tax rate, we should tax EVERYTHING at that rate, no exemptions.

The SD GOP proves once again what they think about the working stiffs of this state, you are dirt, oh, and please stop voting for measures that make us do our job ethically.

‘House of Lords’ is right.

Sales Tax Revenue down for 2016 in Sioux Falls


Busted! City’s intermingling of CIP and Enterprise fund money

Remember only a few short months ago before the city election when the Public Works department and Mayor’s office were in maximum B.S. mode? I know, hard to keep track.

We were essentially told that water rates had to increase because they were a separate ‘enterprise fund’ and the fees you pay towards water and sewer went directly towards fixing water and sewer. They also told us in that same breath that ‘they could’ use CIP money (2nd penny) for upgrades to water and sewer, but didn’t because of the enterprise fund.

Now comes along Item #55 in the Sioux Falls City council agenda for Tuesday night (click on item then click on the PDF in the upper right corner). Seems the Water department and the Streets department are having a regular old poker game with our money, and chips are going all over the place. So how is it we can give road money to the Water department and Water money to the roads? I thought they came out of separate funds?

Once again more hyperbole fed to us before an election. At least we didn’t end up with another $180 million dollar white elephant this time.

Seems the ‘abuse’ of TIF’s is all over the place (H/T – Kolache)

This is a letter to the editor over a year ago in the Lincoln, NE newspaper oddly similar to what we are experiencing in Sioux Falls, especially when it comes to TIF’s and the city’s power to hand them out like candy;

In enacting TIF, the Legislature made a vital mistake not putting state oversight into the process. Over the past 15 years, politicians and real estate speculators hijacked TIF, morphing it into an unauthorized use for self-serving development projects. Municipalities are now unilaterally confiscating the property tax dollars of our public schools, counties, NRDs and community colleges in order to increase developer’s profits and avoid the political pain of raising city property tax rates.

Remember when COSTCO asked NOT to use a TIF? It was for the very reasons mentioned above. COSTCO has a policy of not asking for tax breaks that take away from public education funding.

A Journal Star article dated March 4, concerning the proposed Trinitas Ventures 172-unit living complex, states that the “developer is not asking the city for tax incentives to build the complex, but it has agreed to partner with the city to use (TIF) … to pay for parking improvements.” Neb. Rev. Stat. 18-2116 is clear that projects cannot be approved unless it is demonstrated that they will not occur or be economically feasible in the blighted and substandard redevelopment area without TIF financing.

A story on Aug. 10, 2014, in the Journal Star details another instance where the developer Ploughshare Brewing Company did not ask for TIF; the story states “an unusual situation because the financing wasn’t requested by a private developer. Instead, the city pitched the deal to Ploughshare … over the spring, after work had already begun on its new brewery.” Clearly, these projects do not pass the litmus test of the above statute.

Remember the back and forth on Washington Square’s proposed TIF? While the city and developer claim the TIF will be used mostly for utility and parking, it doesn’t change the fact that luxury condos will be sitting on top of those utility and parking upgrades. Hardly ‘blight’.

The law is clear — those incremental property taxes from “the” project must “be used solely to pay” the bonded indebtedness of the project and “(w)hen such … indebtedness, including interest … ha(s) been paid,” such property thereafter shall be taxed as is other property in the respective taxing districts. There is no justification for “leftover (TIF)  funds” in TIF-related law. Once the projects mentioned in the article (Centennial Mall, Gold’s Building, etc.) generate enough funds to pay off the bond debt, the $5.6 million of property taxes should be returned to the public schools, county and other taxing entities.

Not sure how much different it is in South Dakota, but I will say that some of the same principals apply. Once a TIF runs out, the property owner must start paying what the property is really worth. Ironically, by that time, the ownership of the property will probably not be in the hands of the current developers and investors, who walked away with a pretty penny on their investments, at a cost to our public education system and other government entities (remember, we just passed a 1/2 cent sales tax increase, on things like food, clothing and utilities to pay teachers more, because we are short on education funding-we have a over a half-billion sitting in education investment funds-then we turn around and give property tax breaks to developers who build luxury condos).

I’m opposed to ALL TIF’s, but specifically the current ones we have been handing out, that have NO direct benefit to the public and rob our education funding.

Ram it to the People, Water Rate increases, Sioux Falls city council meeting May 3, 2016

Thots of the day from the Panama Papers Source (H/T – BLAS)

From today’s USA Today:
“The collective impact of these failures has been a complete erosion of ethical standards, ultimately leading to a novel system we still call Capitalism, but which is tantamount to economic slavery,” the source wrote. “In this system — our system — the slaves are unaware both of their status and of their masters, who exist in a world apart where the intangible shackles are carefully hidden amongst the reams of unreachable legalese. The horrific magnitude of detriment to the world should shock us all awake.”

their masters, who exist in a world apart where the intangible shackles are carefully hidden amongst the reams of unreachable legalese.

Methinks the above is a frighteningly succinct articulation of the code/law/public policy maze only lawyers can easily navigate. I think it could be argued that local political activism is fighting against related evils on a hometown level.

The Always Affable and Tax Happy Mayor Huether

The little talked about Board of Tax Appeals got interesting last time around, especially when Mike Huether showed up;

I stated my objection to the increase and the mayor put his hand up for me to be quiet. He visited with Kenny Anderson, then asked me what I paid for my condo. I told them, and he visited with Anderson again. He asked me if my condo was the same as the one across the hall. I said, “Yes.” He informed me she paid $202,000. I objected, as her purchase included furniture. I also informed them they couldn’t know the actual cost of the unit because of that. (I later asked her, and she paid $10,000 less).

I started another statement of facts and the mayor raised his hand to quiet me again. He spoke to Anderson, and asked for a vote of the commissioners. All said, “Aye.” I said, “Excuse me, but I would like to know what you decided?” The mayor stated they decreased my assessment $4,000, which will determine my 2017 taxes. I informed the mayor I had owned property in South Dakota for 50 years, and never has the assessed value, the prepaid taxes and realtor fee exceeded the selling price of the property. As usual, the Mayor rudely raised his hand to quiet me.

I would not expect to be treated like that by an elected official. He is obviously more interested in acting important than caring about a voter or her problem.

He cares. About taxing the living crap out of you. Gotta pay for those play things.