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Daugaard Promises Corporations Money He Doesn’t Have, Must Ask Legislature for $5M

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.

We voters referred and rejected the Large Project Development Fund at the polls last month.

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.


  1. hmr59 2012.12.11

    I guess I have only my naivete to blame, but after all these years, I am still amazed that so many in this country continue to believe that anyone on public assistance is a deadbeat, single-payer medical is one step from Communism, but that handing over public tax dollars to multimillion dollar corporations (or, ahem, you know, "corporate welfare"!!) is just solid business practice.

  2. Douglas Wiken 2012.12.11

    Welfare for the rich is the near sum total of the state and federal GOP organizations and apology groups. With interest rates at record low levels, why are legitimate businesses and business expansion needing any support from taxpayers at the state and local level?

  3. G-Man 2012.12.11

    Corey, keep following this story very closely, even if what you say comes true:

    " 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. "

    ...And if that should come to pass: EXPOSE IT and begin, yet, ANOTHER REFERENDUM DRIVE to depose this latest move, should it come to pass. If you keep this kind of pressure up, the next big REFERENDUM will involve fielding a very strong moderate and centrist Democrat to defeat Daugaard in 2014.

  4. G-Man 2012.12.11

    Daugaard has angered a lot of constituents across the state and I sense he can be defeated in the next election. I the angry backlash is still resinating with voters over his shown disdain for their rejection of his proposals this past election. You couple that with his embattled Secretary of State, Jason Gant, who Senator Adelstein has been battling and exposing over Gant's mishandling of this year's election guide fiasco, leading many voters to believe the Daugaard Administration to be untrustworthy and unfair in the way they govern. I believe if you, Corey, keep exposing Daugaard everytime he tries to "sneak" something through the legislature, it just continues to show his lack in credible governing and eventually even the (R) after his name won't be enough to save him come next election.

  5. G-Man 2012.12.11

    ...And speaking of effective "Secretary of States," South Dakota needs someone like Oregon's recently reelected SOS Kate Brown. Brown is known for taking the job seriously and properly as the State Constitution intended a person in that position to do. She is known for her "Tough Audits" that have ensured our state is not being ripped-off by crony corporate interests and that the state is receiving what it is properly due. You need to field a strong centrist Democrat to run against Gant in 2014, who will run the office the way it should be run.

  6. Bob Mercer 2012.12.11

    I don't know whether it's ever been tested in South Dakota courts, but the assumption is the general budget bill can't be referred. The "support of state government" exemption to referral is in section 1 of the article 3 (legislative article) of the South Dakota Constitution.

  7. G-Man 2012.12.11

    Bob, that's fine. But, there is another kind of referendum called an election and that economy bubble in South Dakota will not be around forever, especially with the drought and other indicators.

  8. Steve Sibson 2012.12.11

    "handing over public tax dollars to multimillion dollar corporations "

    "French" corporations, but still enough money to pay "French" teachers. How do you say cheese in French?

  9. Donald Pay 2012.12.11

    The language in the SD Constitution reads that the referendum can apply to any law ..."except such laws as may be necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety, support of the state government and its existing public institutions." However, if the Legislature would stick some otherwise referrable policy into the budget bill to try to shield it from the referendum, they would be playing a dangerous game with the support of state government. All past Legislators and Governors have up to this point not tried to pull this subterfuge (to my knowledge). Daugaard seems to be someone who lacks proper regard for the history, culture and customs of South Dakota, and to the laws and Constitution of the state. Expect anything from him.

  10. Dana P. 2012.12.11

    "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today"

  11. grudznick 2012.12.11

    Methodism Marches On

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.12.12

    Steve, I give you more value for the dollar teaching French than corporate welfare will.

    G, you can bet I'll keep watching that money. I agree with Bob that we won't be able to refer it: Gov. Daugaard will pursue these dollars as a budget amendment to keep the legislative vote threshold at simple majority in the Legislature as well as to avoid referral. Given that the budget has to take effect on July 1, there's no way the courts would allow us to refer the budget and put it on hold until Nov. 2014. But we do need to keep working to get voters to look at voting records over personalities. That didn't work so well this year, but we can keep trying.

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.12.12

    Dana! Find me an artist to draw up Dennis Daugaard in a Wimpy hat!

  14. Mark 2012.12.12

    A very expensive "oops"! Rookie mistake? Dana P. is my nominee for the 2012 SD Political Observer of the Year.

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