Press "Enter" to skip to content

SB 235: Putting Economic Development Flim-Flam on the Record

Bob Mercer thinks Senate Bill 235, the bipartisan omnibus economic development bill, is a proper step toward more openness about South Dakota's corporate welfare system. I've noted my approval of the openness portions of SB 235, especially the provision that the Governor's Office of Economic Development must publish along with the names of any recipient of our big corporate handouts "a statement of why the project would not have occurred in South Dakota without the reinvestment payment" (SB 235, Section 34, Clause 5).

That's not quite as high a hurdle as making these corporate welfare recipients pass a drug test, but it's something.

My naturally cynical friend the Displaced Plainsman doesn't think that statement amounts to a hill of beans:

My first reaction to that criterion is snarky: When did Miss Cleo come out of retirement and move to South Dakota?

On a more serious note, won't any business with a semi-competent CEO be able to point to competing offers in other states and threaten to take the business there if South Dakota doesn't pony up the cash? How hard is it to manufacture competition from Itstoodamnhot, Mississippi? Exactly how is the state going to be able to prove that the business would not have located here without the incentives? [LK, "A Minor Musing about Precognition and SB 235," The Displaced Plainsman, 2013.03.18]

The Displaced Plainsman is right: this requirement of SB 235 is more flim-flammery than formal proof. The Governor's people and/or the welfare recipients' PR departments will not write down anything different from the B.S. lines they previously fed themselves in their closed-door meetings and or on the links at Dakota Dunes.

The difference SB 235 makes with this provision is that now they'll at least have to put that B.S. on the record, for all to see. And I like to believe that forcing people to put their B.S. on the record will help us catch some of those B.S. artists in the act in the future... and may deter some politicians and entrepreneurs from engaging in such deception in the first place.


  1. Charlie Johnson 2013.03.18

    What you will probably witness in the next few years will be changes to SB235 that in the end will change ED back again to many of the features of HB1230 that voters turned down last November.

  2. mike 2013.03.18

    235 is government corruption at its finest.

  3. mike 2013.03.18

    Stace Nelson should flex his muscle and get it overturned... I would be happy to help him circulate petitions.

  4. Mark Schuler 2013.03.19

    Why do the voters of South Dakota put up with this "hocus pocuss"? Using deceptive ways to get what you want when its been decided by the voters! Gov. Duguaard, we voters do read and study whats put on a ballot! You must not read about what the people of South Dakota want! And yes, there will be changes to SB 235, it will in time reflect what they (Gov. and his cronies) want!

  5. Tom W 2013.03.19

    Hopefully this bill benefits New Large Dairies and New Hog Farms in Grant County.

  6. Charlie Johnson 2013.03.19

    Tom, I hope large dairies and hog farms locate just outside of Milbank where the roads(15 or 12) are already there. Any other industrial factory is located in the "industrial park". This would be far more convenient for loading out milk or hogs, hauling in feed, spreading the manure,etc. If a 1/2 mile setback is good enough for rural residents(ever heard of the equal protection clause), then 1/2 mile should more than adequate for Milbank residents. Besides we all know there is no smell, or ugly sight lines, threat to water supplies, decrease in proeprty values, when a CAFO builds next door. Come on Tom, take one for the "team". It's economic development!!

  7. Steve Sibson 2013.03.19

    Economic development through government bribery:

    1) One man's job is another man's unemployment.

    2) More money in the pockets of Big Business equals less money in the pockets of taxpayers.

    Will somebody explain: economic development in South Dakota minus economic development in Mississippi equals XXX?

  8. Jim 2013.03.19

    Dennis thought we were too dumb before to understand this. His opinion of us apparently hasn't changed.

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.03.19

    New dairies and hog farms... Are current dairy and hog operators in Grant County as eager as you, Tom, to see new competitors get a boost from the state at their expense?

  10. Dougal 2013.03.20

    As Jerry Lammers used to quip on the House floor: "It takes money to buy whiskey!" The thing to watch is what is your money buying, Maker's Mark or Old Granddad?

    Having a pile of cash to give companies means only that your state is a cash cow. Cash, however, is not the most influential factor in a firm's decision to expand or locate. Nobody wants to locate a business and a work force in a state that does such a crappy job supporting its public schools and universities. Nobody wants to locate in a state where the decision makers pass crazy resolutions refuting fundamentally accepted science and strategies to create a clean energy, green economy.

    Does your state have a strong vision for the future, or does it smell like it's dying? I like the bipartisan effort behind this bill, but it's still small, insignificant potatoes compared to what companies really look for when making decisions.

    South Dakota needs to get the big things done, starting with getting behind a winning schools system strategy. But that won't happen until the clown car returns to Pierre to pick up and return the goofballs in the legislature who work so hard to choke the life out of our state.

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.03.20

    I wish I could have been blogging when Jerry Lammers was in the Legislature.

Comments are closed.