Apparently, whenever a promise about TransCanada pipelines includes numbers, we have to divide. When TransCanada said its Keystone 1 pipeline would leak only once or twice every ten years, they really meant once or twice every two weeks. When they say their proposed (and happily delayed) Keystone XL pipeline would create thousands of new jobs, they really mean hundreds.

And when our own state government sold us that Keystone 1 would generate $9.1 million in property tax revenue each year for our schools and roads, they were off by a factor of three:

The original Keystone came online last year and in 2010, only paid out $2.9 million in property taxes combined in the ten counties it crosses, counties that were counting on much more.

... Clark County thought it would receive an estimated $1.4 million dollars in property taxes in the first year.

Public records show Clark County didn't even get half of that. The county only brought in $359,646 in property taxes in 2010.

In fact no county even received a half million dollars from the pipeline. Day County received the most money bringing in nearly $465,000.

So, even though the first Keystone pipeline is shipping oil right now it's not necessarily shelling out all the cash it had promised.

The nearly $3 million in property taxes is less than half of the $6.5 million in total state taxes the company officials thought it would generate in the first year [Ben Dunsmoor, "Oil Pipeline Not Paying Out,", 2011.11.15].

Don't forget, TransCanada received $2.85 million in tax refunds in 2010, so that $2.95 million in property tax revenue got us just past breaking even.

KELO provides these figures on 2010 property tax paid by TransCanada in each of the counties it currently sullies with Keystone 1 in South Dakota:

Marshall $286,280.96
Day $464,958.38
Clark $359,646.04
Beadle $318,178.08
Kingsbury $169,585.01
Miner $391,047.39
Hanson $152,108.62
McCook $139,425.78
Hutchinson $424,504.72
Yankton $247,965.58
TOTAL $2,953,700.56

The promise of big property tax revenues is one reason many local governments have either kept silent about or actively supported the Keystone XL pipeline. More property tax revenue is nice, but remember, fellas: whatever numbers you're getting from TransCanada, divide by three.