Breaking Down proposed Sioux Falls TIF 23

During public input today at the Sioux Falls City Council informational meeting (FF: 1:39:00) I touched on the morality and ethics of tax incentives and rebates for citizens and local contractors and business owners opposed to International Companies. What I did not touch on is what this TIF is really about, a select group of investors making a buttload of money while using the city as collateral.

Before reading anymore, I encourage you to first watch the presentation of TIF 23 than consider what I think I saw;

• The real beneficiary of the TIF would be the Development Foundation, not the businesses coming in or the citizens of the city.

• Basically the DF is using the TIF as a slush fund (for about 15 years) to make the land more appealing by spending the money on upgrades and infrastructure instead of putting it back into the existing city infrastructure for street improvements, public education or judicial/public safety expenses. In other words they are robbing from the other governmental entities (that benefit us all with their services) to build an industrial park we never needed to begin with (seriously folks, it was much better as farmland).

• Do you think this slush fund will just sit in a metal box down at the executive offices of the Foundation? Nope, now we bring in the banksters and bond salesmen to get their cut while they use the city (taxpayers) as collateral if any of these deals fall thru.

I ask a simple question; If you had two choices as the Mayor and City Council where you could spend $94 million in tax incentives/rebates over the next 15 years? Would you . . .

• Spend it on upgrading existing infrastructure in our city which would improve neighborhoods, reduce crime, create much needed affordable housing, employ local contractors and enrich local small multi-housing property owners or would you . . .

• Spend it on building NEW infrastructure (that we will eventually have to maintain) that will house International and National businesses (which pay substandard wages and little in local taxes while shipping profits overseas) attracting more people to our city who will be looking for housing, public education and creating more social headaches.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have an issue with attracting good employers to our city, but why do we always have to dangle the TIF carrot? If our economy was truly strong in Sioux Falls (I think a certain sector of it is) why would we have to offer property tax breaks? If a business truly has a good business model, they should have no problem paying for land upgrades, infrastructure upgrades, living wages and 100 percent of their property taxes on day one. Isn’t that what Free Enterprise and Capitalism is founded on? Not to sound like Ayn Rand, but Cheese & Rice!

But like I said, TIF 23 isn’t about investing in any of these things it is clearly about a handful of bloodsuckers who want to scrape up the fat drippings from the bottom of the broiler pan while our council and city administration is either too blind, too dumb* or too paid off to see it.

*During the Q & A session Councilor Marshall Selberg (who was actually awake for a meeting for once) asked if he could build a Burger King out there. Remember, Marshall is NOT a self-employed piano teacher, he has worked in commercial real estate for a very long time. After asking his question of the DF director, Bob responded, “It’s an industrial park, you can’t build a Burger King out there.” Think about that the next time you hire Marsh as your realtor. Whopper’s are on me!!!!



5 comments ↓

#1 Very Stable Genius on 01.26.21 at 9:00 pm

Can someone answer this question for me?

Most of the land for Foundation Park was purchased by the Development Foundation for between $21,000 and $ 25,000 an acre, but the DF has then been turning around in a time contemporaneous to their own purchase of such land by selling it for $75,000 an acre.

Now, the argument has been made that this difference in price over a short period of time, even with an economic downturn and the pandemic, was necessary to pay for improvements to the land, but if there are now TIFs involved in this land doesn’t the improvement of the land argument become moot and put into question whether the DF has taken advantage of the previous landowners of the FP area? And weren’t some of the previous owners of this land older people whose economic interest in this land might have been taken advantage and thus borders on, or is, elder abuse?

I raise this question because I am very familiar with some of the personalities involved in this land, and now with TIFs involved, I believe the economic evolution and ownership of this land over the last few years have become unconscionable, IMO.

#2 Mike Lee Zitterich on 01.27.21 at 12:42 am

If ‘we’ really want to repair old land, and fix up and make better investment, why NOT make TIF 23 DISTRICT from the old “industrial park” along Russell Street south of the Airport, perhaps that would be better use of the money.

I love my West Sioux Neighborhood, I want to save the Arena, but most importantly, I want invest in fixing up our original Industrial Park that people like Matt Paulson said once is a ‘bad investment’ and no one wants to invest time and money in this part of town.

Come on – We could very much turn I-29 to Downtown Corridor along Russell Street into something special, but the CITY never truly makes an effort to do so.

I always thought, this was what the TIF PROGRAM was always about, but as Scott says – and this is one place him and I agree on, the TIFS are nothing but SLUSH FUNDS for certain groups, and this notion is “WE” must ensure they get PAID OFF.

TIFS have been way to political, but lets remember – they were born from the issues that stemmed from the 1862 Homestead Act and all the ‘amendments’ between 1870-1890 that led to all these so called “Land Speculators, Developers, Land Companies” of whom ruined the land with their dirty political tricks.

Truth is – TIFS were designed to help the FARMERS who homesteaded land with the intent to build a HOME, PROVIDE FOR THEIR FAMILIES, and LIVE ON THE LAND — much of the early issues was the lack of knowledge of how to ‘farm’ which led to the dust storms, that came from the bad farming techniques of tilling the land. So we federally made an attempt to help the “AMERICAN FARMER” in order to redevelop and fix up the land in order to establish better agrictulture lands.

But … CITIES have found a way to abuse this program in the name of political gain…

Do not forget – SIOUX STEEL and Lloyd Companies also want a TIF DISTRICT to redevelop their land, land that “THEY” abused, destroyed, and ruined over the past 100 years.

It is time we rethink the TIF PROGRAM and amend its rules to make it work in its original intent.

The Sioux Falls Development Foundation is one of the many problems with the TIF PROGRAM, they are nothing but a LAND SPECULATOR COMPANY, fact. How many City Council Members, Mayors, City Workers, Bankers, Land Developers, Construction Companies PAST AND PRESENT are members of this “company” ??

– Mike Zitterich

#3 The Guy From Guernsey on 01.27.21 at 9:16 am

The most offensive part of this TIF is that part of the funds will be designated to be used for purposes outside of investments and improvements to infrastructure – you know, the hard goods, tangible value upon which real estate tax collections will be based.
The Development Foundation would establish a “competitiveness fund,” allowing economic developers flexibility in working with prospective employers. [Source: Sioux Falls.business].
Are you f’in kidding me!?!? Stealing present day property tax receipts from the county and school district to place into a fund to essentially bribe businesses … err ahhh, provide incentives to locate to Foundation Park!?!?
Not only, “NO!” But, “HELL NO!”

#4 The Guy From Guernsey on 01.27.21 at 10:00 am

In the spirit and with the prevailing wisdom that we, in South Dakota espouse the principles of “free market capitalism”, …

Bob Mundt and others of those in the leadership of the Sioux Falls Development Foundation are socialists.

If the Development Foundation does not believe, nor embrace the principles of free market capitalism and wishes to continue to rely upon money from government to fund its land speculation, then this must be repeated. Again. And again. And again.

Bob Mundt and others of those in the leadership of the Sioux Falls Development Foundation are socialists.

#5 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 01.27.21 at 9:54 pm

Wasn’t the old Burger King slogan: “Have It Your Way” ?…. And isn’t the Russell and Minnesota Avenue BK in the corner of an industrial park? Industrial parks need their fast food locations, too, so that $10 a hour workers, who forget their lunches, can have a quick option for their thirty minute lunch breaks. (“How come the boss always gets a hour?”)