Entries Tagged 'Taxes' ↓

More on Trusts in South Dakota

I will admit, it was refreshing to read this humorous article about South Dakota Trusts. It all starts with some digs on Noem, EB-5, Gear-Up, etc.;

Corey Lewandowski. Read it all here: (The BulwarkThe Daily Beast) BTW, Ian Fury, Noem’s official spokesperson, said “Corey was always a volunteer, never paid a dime (campaign or official).” To which I instantly responded, “So, you are saying that he did it for love.”

Is that what Repugs call love? Unfortunately, YES!

Now I am proud to say that in one way, I actually broke this story, on SleuthSayers, back on June 20, 2012. It’s just that no one listened. As the once and (probably) future AG Marty Jackley once told me, “Call me when there’s a crime.”

I think Jackboots had that line disconnected after Dep SOS Pitty Pat and SOS Jason Gunt left office.

Unless you live under a rock or are dumber than* our governor (or related to her) you know that the Trusts don’t benefit average South Dakotans one iota, it doesn’t even benefit main street or the government coffers in Pierre. There is a select group of banksters, bondsters and all around scammers making money from this and the cavemen and Betty Rubbles running our state house don’t have a clue about the laws they are passing.

I can feel all that liberty and freedom making me dumber by the minute.

Lincoln County Tax Levy Vote proves local officials are NOT doing the work of the people

I do agree that it was only an 8% voter turnout, but either way, it was a blowout. I have felt for a long time that both County Commissions, the City Council and the School Board are NOT listening to what the citizens want, or in this case, don’t want. They simply show up and vote for tax increases on the minions so they can turn around and give contracts or tax breaks to the welfare queen developers, banksters and bonders.

The system is rigged.

We no longer have representative government in the Sioux Falls Metro Area or even in the state. This is what happens when you have one-party rule by authoritarians who only serve the ruling class. Don’t believe me? A majority of all of the members of all of these governing bodies are Republican. I think the only members that are registered Democrat are Pat Starr, Jeff Barth and Kate Parker (there may be a couple more, but they ain’t telling anyone.)

The irony of the Tax Levy revolt is that it was spearheaded by Republican voters! That is why it still baffles me they continue to vote for the very representatives that don’t listen to them.

I told an older Democrat not to long ago that no matter who the majority party in local government bodies is, you will continue to get tax and fee increases. The difference is the Dems will spend it on the citizens and the Repugs will spend it on their welfare queen developer bankster buddies.

Mayor’s Discretionary Funds, 2008-2018

Here are the Mayor’s Discretionary Funds (slush fund) starting in 2008. Remember, the last mayor hid it from the public and council and while the council got to see it after his term it still doesn’t make it right.

From my assumptions so far the money comes from the general fund (1st or 2nd Penny) and it is signed off by ONE person, the Mayor. I can’t find anywhere in city ordinance that this is approved by anyone else but the mayor. It may go through a review process, but as far as I can tell the applicants probably work through the Development Foundation and the Chamber and then the Planning Department. But at the end of the day the mayor doesn’t have to approve a single application . . . but he does . . . in the dark of the night.

(Click to enlarge)

Is it time to END the Sioux Falls Mayor’s Discretionary Tax Rebate Program?

We found out a few years ago that the Planning Department in collusion with the Mayor’s office has a list of PRIVATE developer and corporation tax rebates. The kicker is all of the rebates are approved ONLY by the discretion of the Mayor. There is NO City Council OR public review of the rebates. The mayor simply signs off on them. While they can be seen by the public you have to know who to ask. There are NO public presentations of the recipients.

How do they work? Basically a developer or company, or investment group (LLC) makes significant upgrades to the property and a portion of the cost (usually around half) is rebated back to them from their paid property taxes. Like TIFs, it is only an option for a select few and extremely UNFAIR to the 99.99% of property taxpayers in the community.

Now, I’m not going to cry corruption, I’m just going to keep this simple, it is time to end this welfare handout because 1) it goes against the FREE market system but more importantly 2) The mayor should not have this kind of power and control to secretly hand out tax rebates to whomever he wants to.

I think the City Council needs to end this process ASAP.

You will see below how random and highly questionable the recipient list is which adds the element of corruption;

Endeavor 212 LLC, Dr. Richard Brue, Historic DTSF Property, this one surprises me since downtown property is very valuable and certainly doesn’t need a tax break.

• Smithfield, this company owned by Communist Chinese investors got a massive tax break in 2019 and again in 2020.

Graco Minnesota Inc, this very successful company based out of Minnesota got a tax break. Why?

• Schenk Properties LLC and AL Properties LLC may be intertwined with Murray properties and they have gotten massive tax breaks in Foundation Park for 3 different properties in 2019 & 2020.

• 4 Suns-I90 LLC, I believe has developed property on North Cliff and 60th, they are based out of Fargo, ND. So I guess we don’t only give tax cuts to the Chinese but also our Northern neighbors.

Third Avenue Lofts LLC, Riverview Square LLC are Legacy Projects intertwined with Norm Drake. So I guess the mayor felt it was okay to give a tax break to a guy involved with the Copper Lounge collapse and the Bunker Ramp debacle.

KV LLC, this one is a mystery, but seem to be based out of Sioux City, SD.

UPDATE: Mayor TenHaken to announce re-election campaign a day before trying to sneak in a tax increase thru resolution?

UPDATE: This is NOT a fee increase, just an annual notice that the fee exists and renewed, it has since 1992.

City Council Members and Council Staff,

Good afternoon. A resolution (per City Ordinance 96.033) will be presented at Tuesday’s City Council
Meeting to levy an annual front foot assessment fee for street maintenance and repair. The special
assessment funds are used to partially fund the highways and streets operational budget for the
repairs and maintenance of our city streets to include pothole patching, asphalt surface
maintenance, and street sweeping.The front foot assessment fee has been in place since 1992.
The front foot assessment fee will be $1.00 per foot for 2022 and has not changed since 2009.
Attached is the resolution and on the back is the amount that has been collected for each respective
year since 1992.
Thank you, Mark Cotter


It looks as though Mayor Poops is finally going to announce he is running. The irony of this is astounding when you consider that on Tuesday night he is trying to push an over $9 million dollar tax increase thru resolution (item 21) which is legally dubious since tax or fee increases normally go thru the ordinance process of 1st and 2nd readings AND a presentation to the council in advance. Some councilors I spoke with didn’t even know it was on the agenda.

According to the math (thanks Mike Z – I updated his numbers);

Looks to be a new tax being created assessed on the residents of Sioux Falls, is this true?  $1.00 Per foot per property along our ‘streets’. If we have a total # of 900 centerline street miles in this city (1,800 if you include both sides of the street), and each mile is roughly 5,280 feet, this tax generates $9,504,000.00 for the city to be used to maintain and resurface highways, streets, and roads in the city. With a $654,000,000 million revenue stream, is a new tax really necessary?

Once again Paul is showing us his lack of transparency and his dark hatred towards open government. Most government’s would have put this thru a vetting process with it’s public works department, the city council and the citizens. Not to mention in the same night there will be a property tax increase (item 15). You also have to remember we spent most of the $50 million in Covid money on play things and gave away $144 million in tax rebates this year. It looks like we will be heading into the dark abyss for another 4 years unless Paul gets one heck of a challenger.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, Sep 14, 2021

Informational Meeting, 4 PM

Presentations on the City Council and Mayor’s 2022 Budget and Covid
(what is surprising in the City Council Budget is the expenditure of over $200K for the City Election. I have NEVER seen it that high. I would be curious about the explanation on that one.)

Regular Meeting, 6 PM

Item #6, Approval of Contracts, Sub Item #20. It’s a mysterious what this is, but it seems like some partnership for transit. Be nice to have a presentation and explanation instead of burying it in the consent agenda.

Item #15, 2nd Reading, Property Tax Increase. Of course the Rubber Stamp Council who gave away $144 million in TIF tax rebates this year has NO problem with raising our taxes by millions in a Covid economic recovery.

Item #17, Resolution, Moving the Sculpture Sea Dream from the DT Dog park location to Prairie Green Golf Course. I wonder if the artist was ever consulted about this? I know once when I talked to him about the sculpture at an Augustana art reception (he used to be a teacher) he was irritated that people would call it ‘the golf ball’.

Item #21, Resolution, Levy Front Assessment of $1.00 per foot. Maybe I am missing something here, but shouldn’t this be 1) a 1st and 2nd Reading and 2) an explanation as to why we need this in conjunction with a property tax increases?

#22, Resolution, One Sioux Falls. So this is a perfect example of something that belongs in the resolutions category on agenda, meaningless word games from the mayor’s office.

Tax Reduction Program for Downtown Sioux Falls residential property

Turns out there is a program, but only 3 properties have taken advantage of it since 2007, and you have to invest $30,000 in the property before getting the program.

At the informational meeting today where they explained the program, most of it goes towards business, and not a surprise the part they want to expand. I’m all for it for local businesses but the program needs to be expanded to residential and the $30,000 expenditure should be drastically reduced to $2,500 or more.

But that of course isn’t the plan, more socialism to big developers and banksters and crumbs for the rest of us.

Sioux Falls economy contracted -.07% in 2020

Sioux Falls citizen and economics enthusiast Mark Weber (who I believe actually has an economics degree) has been addressing the Sioux Falls City Council for several years at public input showing the other side of the Sioux Falls economy. Since the city is usually a month or two behind on releasing the monthly financials (we haven’t had a report since November 2020) Mark draws his data from the SD Department of Revenue. Thank you for your advocacy Mark. Here are his conclusions of 2020;

Why Did we Give Sioux Falls School District Employees an $800 dollar bonus?

Before everyone calls me a Scrooge, I will say I agree with School Board president Mickelson’s sentiments;

“. . . yet give as much as we can to our staff while they are going through this hard and very difficult time,” Cynthia Mickelson said.

I think if public servants like teachers go the extra mile they deserve a little something more.

But here are my issues with this;

• This is not the private (for profit) sector. The school district is funded by taxpayers. Believe it or not, most, if not all of my friends and family have worked straight thru this pandemic including myself. Many of them have never got a ‘bonus’ including myself for showing up. But the very workers we subsidize with our taxes are handed bonuses for simply showing up and doing their job – just like the rest of us have. I get it, it’s not easy, there are many days I just want to say, ‘Screw it’ this isn’t worth the risk, but I also know we will get thru this, so I soldier on.

• Instead of a bonus, maybe better sick leave and raises would be more appropriate. As I understand it, district employees have a very good sick leave policy.

• Unlike the private sector, school district employees get fantastic benefits, healthcare and PENSIONS! PENSIONS! I know, something that has almost disappeared in the private sector.

• Many school district employees get the entire summer off. Basically they receive 12 months of pay for 9 months of work. I get it, they may work many more hours during that 9 months, but how many of you in the private sector would love to work a few extra hours a week to get 3 months off in the summer? I think I know the answer to that question. Let’s talk about a ‘bonus’!

While I think it is nice gesture to give this bonus, remember, this comes from you and me, not the school board. It is also fair to point out that the more money we give towards wages is less money we are spending on learning materials and capital expenses for EDUCATING STUDENTS!

I think if this community was flush with money, this would be a blip on the radar screen. But while a lot of us in the private sector are struggling, we ask when are we getting our $800 property tax cut?

Why couldn’t this bonus come from the millions of dollars of Federal Corona virus monies instead of handed over to businesses that may or may not trickle it down to their workers?

This bonus was foolish and fiscally irresponsible.

I think a better plan would have been giving the staff that worked through this pandemic full-time a better raise instead of a blanket bonus.

REWARD THE ONES THAT DESERVE IT WITH PERMANENT APPRECIATION IN THEIR PAYCHECKS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR!

I often shake my head when elected officials pat themselves on the back when they are giving our money away. To all the staff that got this bonus, your’e welcome, to the elected officials who got a warm fuzzy feeling for giving my taxes away, you are also welcome.

If SD would just tap into these trusts, we would never have to pay taxes again

Another ‘flattering’ story of how we allow Billionaires to take advantage of our laws in South Dakota;

South Dakota is fast becoming a mini-Switzerland for the world’s rich. Analysts and local politicians estimate that $250 billion to $900 billion is now stashed in South Dakota trusts by the likes of Chinese billionaires looking to keep their fortunes out of reach of the government, Europeans looking to avoid taxes and Americans looking to shield wealth from spouses.

I have argued for a long time that if we only put an annual .01% tax on these trusts the state could take in $90 million in tax revenue.