Low wages in South Dakota? Get out!

As if this story is ground breaking. I do appreciate the update in our dismal wages, high regressive taxes, and high cost of housing, but this has been going on for decades;

State and federal data routinely show that:

  • South Dakota employers pay some of the lowest wages in the nation.
  • A high number of families pay an excessive portion of their income on housing.
  • The state has a regressive system of taxation.
  • Many workers are not seeing their pay cover the rising cost of living in the state.
  • Meanwhile, the state is seeing a sharp spike in the cost of housing and health care, two critical components of living a happy life.

I will admit over the past 5 years or so I was able to quit my part-time job and only work one full-time job and make a decent living wage. I am also debt free. But this didn’t come from not working hard. I worked around 60 hours a week for over 20 years and I have NO dependents. But sometimes I wonder how much better off I would be if I just got paid a decent wage.

When I moved to Sioux Falls in 1991 my first job paid around $4.20 an hour.

Let’s face it, as long as we keep electing Republican business owners to the legislature we will continue to have regressive sales taxes, low wages and unaffordable housing. We need a progressive state legislature that stands up for workers.

I know, I am dreaming.

I have suggested to Sioux Falls city councilors that they institute a wage listing ordinance that forces businesses to list there minimum/maximum wage in a job listing for the Sioux Falls metro. Research has shown that not only will employers pay more they will get better and more applicants. It’s not just a win for workers it is a win for businesses.

It’s time we stop screwing around, especially in Sioux Falls, and invest in our workers.


#1 D@ily Spin on 05.23.21 at 10:47 pm

Wages have risen but cost of living has doubled. One can readily get a job but then they discover they can’t afford to live here. There’s not enough expensive rental property and homes are not within qualification reach. Who cares if you have a good job with a good wage when (in fact) the quality of life is inferior. Those coming in will not stay once they see what’s happened. I wouldn’t blame Republicans. The situation must solve itself. Meanwhile, this city is a lesson learned for the middle class. Move on unless you’re wealthy or know how to manipulate welfare. There’s only these 2 classes and the impoverished have no voice at city hall.

#2 Very Stable Genius on 05.24.21 at 12:36 am

No doubt the number one issue in this state is wages. It’s not “economic development”, or” workforce development” as the Republicans in this state continue to try to remind us, nor is it equality.

Although, equality is an issue that needs great attention, but, however, currently seems to be the only issue Democratic leaders in this state seem to zero in on or pursue with any vigor.

As you mentioned, Scott, laws requiring the posting of wage scales in any employment ad in this state are needed. What’s the purpose? Well, quite frankly to create wage inflation in this state, which is long overdue.

Also, we should not expect the Republicans in this state to care about this issue. In fact, when confronted with this issue, Republicans in this state start talking about “economic development” and bringing good paying jobs to South Dakota, but they have been talking about this strategy in South Dakota for about 40 years now, but to no avail when it comes to increased wages across the board for workers in this state.

Another thing that should concern us in South Dakota is that Democrats as leaders in equality – although a good and just issue in its own right – have allowed themselves because of this issue, in my opinion, to increasingly be co-opted by organizations like the Chamber – which is an anti-worker organization – in their joint attempts to try to prevent backward and embarrassing anti-transgender legislation as an example.

This new fostered relationship between the SDDP and the Chamber as result, however, will only further plant the seeds of complacency by South Dakota Democratic leaders on the issue of wages, in my opinion, and we should be wary of any Democratic leader in this state who speaks of the Chamber as an overall ally, when really they are only an ally on one of the issues concerning to South Dakota Democrats, which is equality; but once again in my opinion, the Chamber’s concern for equality is with crocodile tears at best, when really they are only concerned about so called “economic development” and the continuation of the myth that new jobs in our state from out-of-state corporations will somehow increase our wage scales in this state.

Unfortunately, I increasingly hear Democratic legislative candidates speak positive about the Chamber, want to join the Chamber, and when elected they take pride that their legislative scores from the Chamber are greater than some Republican colleagues in Pierre. But frankly, I remember when Democratic leaders fought over who could have the lowest legislative score from the Chamber and not the highest. So we need to get back to the lower Chamber scores and begin to make wages the number one issue for not only the SDDP, but South Dakotans in general.

#3 SD Low Wages Low Costs on 05.24.21 at 9:11 am

Why so negative? Once we have Cannabis the good paying jobs with benefits will come. The state will make so much money off of Cannabis that the state will be printing money.

#4 Erica on 05.24.21 at 3:47 pm

Wages would be better if Govt got out of the business of dictating everything a business can and can’t do, to include wage determination between an employee and an employer.

#5 Name thankfully no longer in quotes on 05.24.21 at 7:43 pm

My favorite part of this blog? The fact that you fancy yourself as the man with all the answers, the smartest man in town, yes can’t use the correct their to save your life.

#6 "Woodstock" on 05.24.21 at 10:14 pm

“I see ‘Ntnliq’ is back with his intellectual chauvinism once again”…. “I really thought he would go alway after Alex was elected, but I guess not”…..

#7 The Guy From Guernsey on 05.24.21 at 11:01 pm

Democrats joining the Chamber.
And now (according to the headline in the weekly LTE section of the Argus Leader), Democrats are writing LTEs praising the work of Congressman Dusty Johnson.
Simply a melding in the middle of moderate liberals. SDDP, the Chamber and Dusty Johnson. The Chamber members registered as ‘Repub’ simply as a matter of political expedience, much like membership in a civic organization lifts one’s level of connections.

#8 Very Stable Genius on 05.25.21 at 9:59 am

I attended a county Democratic meeting out in the Hills two years ago and the local county chair there was bragging about how they were friends with Dusty and had personally thanked Dusty via a text for his vote against Trump’s executive orders relative to the construction of the wall. But my only question to all of this was: And you are proud of this, and why?

I have also witnessed Democratic leaders liking Republican leaders and their actions on social media, attending a major Republican candidate announcement rally, and registering Republicans at county fair booths at about a 7 to 1 advantage relative to Democrats without any concerns about what they were doing.

#9 Name thankfully no longer in quotes on 05.25.21 at 3:37 pm

Dang it, I accidentally read a “Woodstock” post. Don’t you mean “Alex!”, as you so wittily say?

#10 "Woodstock" on 05.25.21 at 6:36 pm

“Say ‘Ntnliq’, I generally save the exclamations for JEB(!)”…. “Oh, and I knew you were obsessed with me”…. “And thanks, too, for the ‘constructive criticism’, it’s just further proves my legitimacy”…… #”ConstructiveCriticism” #HavingCriticsMeansRelevance

#11 Erica on 05.30.21 at 11:03 pm

Why do you want more Govt involvement in the business of what you and your employer agree on terms of pay? You on board with making bigger Govt to have someone/people overlook this additional issue you want Govt to manage?