Governor Dennis Daugaard's mouth has been writing checks that his electorate won't cash.
Bob Mercer reports that Governor Daugaard lured Bel Brands (based in France!) to Brookings with an open-ended promise of corporate welfare worth at least $4.5 million. Daugaard also promised Baldwin Filters $236,000 to expand its operations in Yankton. Daugaard planned to take those millions from the Large Project Development Fund, the corporate welfare fund that he pushed through the Legislature in his rookie year as governor.
Oops. No wonder Governor Daugaard was so "disgusted" with us uppity referrers.
Now the Governor has to find another checkbook to back his promises to his corporate pals. He has over $13 million in an economic development grant fund called the Future Fund, but he doesn't want to drain that tank. Instead, he wants the Legislature to give him the $5 million that wasn't his to promise in the first place.
The debate over such expenditures should be in the Legislature, where the people have a chance to exert some control over how their dollars are spent. Unfortunately, this debate will be tucked away in the final-days rush of the appropriations bill, where the Governor's backside-covering $5 million will be a quiet, one-line amendment buried in hundreds of other arcane numbers. Voters, budget hawks, and opponents of crony corporate socialism, keep an eye out for that amendment, and be ready to hold the Legislature and the Governor to the position voters made clear in November: we don't want handouts for big corporations.