The City of Sioux Falls will be launching a new mobile market offering healthy foods at an affordable cost.
This would include multiple buses with markets stationed throughout neighborhoods in Sioux Falls.
The city will be giving two hundred and fifty thousand dollars to Sioux Falls Thrive to pilot the “Eat Well Sioux Falls mobile market.”
One of the best things about this idea is that the group pushing this, Thrive, lead by former city councilor Michelle Erpenbach, is that they are not re-inventing the wheel, they are instituting the proposal built on proven programs used in other cities and countries.
If you watch the entire presser, you will also realize that the program is expected to be self-sustaining after 18 months. In other words this isn’t just another problem the city throws money at and forgets about a year later, there is a long term goal to make this work.
One of the other intriguing parts is that they will try to help people sign up for SNAP benefits if they need that assistance. I would go even a step farther and have job listings and access to employment and higher education opportunities.
Let’s face it, between inflation, the roller coaster economy, high cost of housing and low wage jobs in Sioux Falls we have put ourselves in this place.
I was astonished to hear in the latest financial report from the city that in 2022 over 50% of sales tax revenue came from restaurants. The hospitality industry is known for some of the lowest wages of any sector.
I’m not sure why the service industry is propping up our sales tax collection but it is proof our economy in Sioux Falls is being supported by a low wage industry. Maybe Thrive needs to look at this disconnect?
I think everyone should have access to affordable food but they also should have access to liveable wages.
DakotaNews chief softball pitcher, Brian Allen, recently did an interview with Paul asking him what we should focus on in 2023. Paul said it was time to get back to focusing on infrastructure.
I guess it only took 5 years for Paul to figure out the simple premise of local municipal government; you collect taxes and fees and provide essential services like road maintenance, water and sewer, public safety and outdoor recreation in our parks.
Ever since Mayor Munson, the city has focused more and more on chipping away at our 2nd penny for things like leather chairs for a private movie theater, landscaping and ‘other stuff’ for a private research facility, butterflies and tennis courts while giving massive tax breaks to welfare queen developers.
When former city commissioner Loila Hunking proposed the 2nd penny tax decades ago it was to be in a lockbox and only to be used on road maintenance and in rare occasions other infrastructure projects, since then the penny has been on a wild spending spree that has little to do with the pothole in front of your house.
It often cracks me up listening to past and current mayors and city councilors talk about how we need to ‘get back to’ focusing on infrastructure.
Don’t be fooled by the promises. There is going to be a big fight in Pierre this winter over reducing the food tax and property taxes, one of the proposals will win at the end of the day (I think the property tax cut has a better chance). Mayors and councilors across the state will be crying about the revenue loss and will be asking how they will be able to keep up with essential services and infrastructure.
Let me give you a little advice; stop spending our tax dollars on stupid sh!t.
There has always been a long standing tradition of our local media throwing the good professor under the bus, even after he died, there is still an effort to paint Kermit as too fiscally conservative, yet over 20 years ago when he served in the legislature, he tried to cut the food tax by 50%;
Senator Kermit Staggers, a Sioux Falls Republican, proposed reducing the state sales tax on food to 2% from the then-4% rate. The Senate Taxation Committee killed it 5-4. SB 171
Senator Staggers again proposed reducing the state sales tax on food to 2% from the then-4% rate. The Senate State Affairs Committee killed it 6-2. SB 67
Staggers also led a small bipartisan group of lawmakers who wanted to exempt food from the state sales tax in North Sioux City and Dakota Dunes. The Senate Taxation Committee killed it 7-1. SB 116
Even when Kermit served on the city council he fought against tax and fee increases. Kermit had a big heart, and he always looked after the working class of this state and city. Funny how twenty years ago Staggers had the vision that the food tax was regressive. This coming from a supposed extreme conservative.
I was surprised the media didn’t use this information to further criticize him, maybe 20 years is too soon?
Guest Post by by David Z for Mayor and Patricia Lucas
I want Sioux Falls to be a thriving, robust city with healthy citizens. Healthy citizens need a nutritious diet based on regular access to fruits, vegetables, grains, and meat.
This goal has become increasingly challenging. In our state of South Dakota, one out of nine individuals is food insecure and one of every six children is at risk of going hungry. The closure of grocery stores, higher cost of food, transportation limitations, and the COVID pandemic make the problem of food access critical. Some areas of Sioux Falls don’t have nearby supermarkets – they are food deserts. Food deserts occur most often in rundown parts of a city when grocery stores move away from high crime and low income areas. The HyVee on Kiwanis Avenue recently closed creating a food desert.
A former manager of this supermarket commented on www.reddit.com that the closure of this store “will undoubtedly impact countless families and individuals who shopped there on a highly consistent basis. A majority of the clientele were elderly, disabled, and lower income shoppers who may already have a difficult time in getting to the grocery store, especially in frigid winter months … it really is leaving behind a food desert.”
This is a crisis for our city of Sioux Falls. Malnourished people can become obese, have heart disease, and suffer from type 2 diabetes. Children can suffer even more. Hunger can slow their mental and physical development. They don’t do well in school and have lower graduation rates. Hungry children often don’t reach their full potential and remain disadvantaged during adulthood. Hunger results in reduced health and that increases medical costs and expensive emergency room visits.
A short term solution for hunger is providing food access through charities and government programs like food stamps and subsidized school lunches. While these excellent programs solve critical needs, they don’t solve the whole problem. We can make food more affordable by removing the sales tax on food. City government can subsidize placing grocery stores in food deserts and thereby increase local access to healthy nutritious food at reasonable cost. Urban agriculture can provide gardeners with delightful fresh fruits and vegetables. We can support the health and welfare of Sioux Falls by investing in our citizens of all ages, sexes, income levels, and races. We improve the present and build the future. Let’s solve local hunger together.
A gentleman tonight during public input at the City Council meeting put this graphic up on the overhead during his presentation. I was disappointed he ran out of time before he started to address TIFs. I should recruit him to write for my blog.