The Retail Tax increase ruse is finally revealed

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Last year when the Sioux Falls city council voted to raise our retail taxes they said it was for new arterial roads. They argued the extra .08% would raise $5 million for new roads and platting fees paid by developers would pay the other $5 million. A 50/50 partnership, so to speak. In recent months, I assume to downplay our tax petition, the city started to say it was going to be a 40/60 partnership instead, with the developers paying the 60%.

Well the numbers are in, and they ain’t even close to what the city is claiming. Since the tax increase took effect January 1, 2009, the extra .08% in retail taxes has collected about $1 Million dollars. In five months. Obviously it will have to pick up a bit to reach the $4 million dollar goal by the end of the year. But the alarming number is how much the developers have put in the kitty since January 1st. Let’s just say I rewinded the audio three times when finance director Eugene ‘Montgomery Burns’ Rowenhorst mumbled the amount at yesterday’s informational meeting; $8,000 dollars! Nope, you heard right, not $800,000 dollars, $8,000 in five months!  I think the Boy Scouts could raise more than that in just one week selling popcorn.

I said this tax increase was a ruse from the beginning to max out our taxes, it had nothing to do with building those roads. And if the developers are going to chip in 60% to build arterial roads, they better turn it up a notch, because at that rate, they won’t have enough money to build one block let alone several streets.

As usual, Sioux Falls taxpayers will have to pony up 90% of the money for the roads. And as usual, Munson’s administration misled and lied to the public to raise our taxes.

Shameful.

ANOTHER THING THAT WAS BROUGHT UP, in the meeting by Rowenhorst was how much of our Capital Improvement fund goes toward debt service (paying interest and principal on bonds); 22%. Just imagine all the roads we could fix if we weren’t throwing those millions away on interest payments? By rough estimates I’m guessing we pay about $25 million in interest/principal payments a year, just on our CIP projects. Ironically, Eugene bragged that 22% was a good number, he said the city’s credit rating could allow us to be paying 44% out in debt service.

Where do they get these clowns anyway? Oh that’s right Rowenhorst and Munson worked for Citibank, that explains it all.