We need to stop incentivizing businesses with TIF’s and Tax rebates in Sioux Falls

As I said a few months ago, it was baffling to me why we would give a $94 million dollar TIF to incentivize businesses to come here. First off, it is pretty obvious we don’t need anymore job creators currently;

To find out more about what might be going on, I reached out to Secretary Marcia Hultman, who leads the South Dakota Department of Labor.

“What you are seeing and what we’re hearing anecdotally, the numbers really support,” she said.

They definitely do. The most current number she could pull for me Friday was 23,500 active job openings in the state’s database. Nearly 10,000 of those are in the city of Sioux Falls.

You read it correct, 10,000 available jobs in Sioux Falls, and we want to incentivize business to come here? It’s ludicrous. Factor in our schools are over crowded, affordable housing is a rarity (where we should be investing tax rebates) and building permits are through the roof. If anything we should be giving the tax rebates to the citizens to create more affordable housing and propping up our current infrastructure instead throwing it at Egg Roll factories owned by Koreans.

I also found this interesting in the article;

Another tip: You should list a wage with your opening.

“Statistically, if the wage is posted, even if it’s not the best, those job orders get more activity. If nothing is listed, the assumption is that it’s low,” Hultman said.

Nearly every business I talk to has increased pay, some significantly. Frankly, that’s not a bad thing, to me, in a state that has struggled with persistently low wages in some sectors.

I have often said the city council should pass a city ordinance that any job listed within city limits should have the minimum and maximum pay listed in the ad.

It’s time to end most if not all TIF’s in the city and tax rebates for the supposed (low wage) job creators and start helping the people who live and work in this city with more affordable housing and propping up infrastructure, and we can do it without welfare to big business. This is what happens when you have a partisan greedy mayor on cruise control and a former developer executive running the city as Chief of Staff.

Ironically, when she left the city the first time she met me for coffee. She told me the deciding factor to leave the city, besides the last mayor being a total jackass was that she was forced to write the Sanford Sports Complex TIF which she felt set a bad precedent for TIFs because of it’s size and that it was NOT for housing or blighted property. Funny how her feelings have changed on the Tifiliciousness of TIFs and doesn’t seem to bothered by the bad precedent she set.

1 comment so far ↓

#1 Mike Lee Zitterich on 05.10.21 at 12:06 pm

I am beginning to love this topic, not that I often disagree with Scott, I often thru discussions find some level of ‘agreement’ with Scott. He is correct, we do need to invent programs to help the majority of residents to find cause to reinvest their own dollars back into their own Homes, Yards, Neighborhood Cleanups, etc.

To understand the T.I.F Program and how it works, means you must fully understand LAND itself, and who owns the land, the People do, at least those Americans who sought, staked claims, and were rewarded patent rights as far back as 1862.

The real power vests in the land itself, the city cannot annex your sub-division, your township, your land area without first gaining your approval, your support, or public vote of the property holders in that area.

Truth is – the Land Owners own, operate, and manage the “city” let alone all towns for that matter, cause “THEY” were the ones whom established the town, the rules, the codes as how to operate the ‘city’.

The T.I.F Program was dreamed of, and created by the Federal Govt in order to fix some of the issues stemming from the 1862 Homestead Act itself, such as bad farming techniques, bad land development techniques, in order to repair those mistakes, to revitalize the land for future development.

Has it become manipulated by Land Speculators, Developers, Construction Companies?

Truth is – the LAND OWNER (vested property holder) always has the most to say, the loudest voice, the only voice on how to “develop” their land, they shall choose to develop their land anyway they wish regardless of public opinion; and if they can show proof the land was blighted in such manner, that cause concern to future development, they then qualify for a T.I.F in order to recoup their ‘investment’ into the land itself, the part that shall be used for “public” activity.

Those costs involved to help build Public Roads, Infrastructure, Housing, future Economic Development.

My guess is:

1) Sioux Steel, the so called “land owner” requested the T.I.F based on the fact the land itself was once used as a ‘city dump’ then later used as a busy Steel Recycling Plant, where oil was spilled, waste was laid, and the land was wasting away. The cost of cleaning the land in this area comes a steep cost, while I say – do they deserve a TIF when they most likely ruined the land? That is the debate more than any other.

2) Sanford Sports Complex T.I.F – does this land qualify for a T.I.F, was it blighted? This land was developed in the 1950’s to build the Airport, re-route the Sioux River, and much of the outer borders was agriculture land. The costs paid for by the Land Owner can be expensive where he has to develop around former “water ways” which can be seen thru out the entire area; it also can be a problem where ‘farming techniques’ caused damage to the land itself. Then the question is – does the Sanford Sports Complex provide for “Affordable” public activities to the residents of the city, let alone Affordable Medical Services?

Two such examples where the Land Owner(s) agreed to fix, restore the land, or redevelop land in the name of Public Services, Activities, Housing, Future Economic Activities.

Truth is: The LAND OWNER(s) are the rightful ‘owners’ of the city, they appoint, elect the Mayor, control the mayor, and are the ones whom get reimbursed via “law” for where we mismanage the city, causing the residents to leave the town itself. IF, the city falls below 250 residents, that sets up some interesting events in itself:

a) Land Owners petition each other to dissolve the city.

b) Circuit Courts establish rules to maintain current mayor and administration for 10 years.

c) All Assets are sold off, A/R Receivables Collected, Expenses Paid, Liabilities Paid, Debts Paid, Employee Obligations Paid Off (may take 10, 20, 30 years)

d) All Profits/Gains are then proportioned equally or accordingly by vested ownership of the land itself, to all the LAND OWNERS (property holders). The rightful ‘owners’ of the town or city itself.

Example: The former town of UNITYVILLE-SD – the residency died off, moved away to places such as Canova, Howard, Salem between 1930-1960; the population fell to under 250, land owners dissolved the town, and by 1981 – most assets were sold, today, only a few homes are left.

Cities are nothing more than communes where Land Owners pool their assets in order to capitalize on “Commercial Activities”, whereas they combine their incomes to create Public Roads, Buildings, Infrastructure, to bring in a residency to provide for the labor, services, economic activities. In order to sustain itself, you need “Housing, Public Events, Activities, Jobs”.

If over tax the “residents” they move away, so the biggest concern I have is an out of control 2nd Penny, and the rising “DEBT” of the City which causes issues to the 2nd Penny.

IS the TIF program being manipulated? Well, to the Land Owner attempting to manage the city to maintain control of the city, keep its residency, that’s the million dollar question…