Rep. Peggy Gibson published a list of the state's handouts to now-bankrupt Northern Beef Packers in the Huron Plainsman last week. Her numbers match Scott Waltman's July report in the Aberdeen American News on that state aid.
Here are the approval letters for five state grants to various entities in support of the Northern Beef Packers project. Check out who signed each one... and when:
- Grant 1430: $67,600 to Mentor Group, November 24, 2010, for plant appraisal.
- Grant 1433 (page 1, page 2): $150,000 to Aberdeen Development Corp., December 8, 2010, to pay for economic impact study and marketing services.
- Grant 1434: $1,000,000 to Northern Beef Packers, December 8, 2010, to subsidize construction costs.
- Grant 1439: $300,000, South Dakota Department of Agriculture, January 1, 2011, to promote South Dakota Certified Beef Program.
- Grant 3478: $843,000, Northern Beef Packers, January 1, 2011, to train packing plant employees.
The signatures? All from outgoing Governor Marion Michael Rounds:
Northern Beef Packers was already at least two and a half years behind schedule. It had already burned through millions of dollars of EB-5 investment and a desperate offshore bailout. Yet in his last days in office, while the state budget spiraled into a $127 million shortfall that incoming Governor Dennis Daugaard used to justify 10% budget cuts, lame-duck Governor Rounds raided the state treasury for more corporate welfare for a doomed project.
Rounds thought this final blast of cash for Northern Beef Packers would help establish his legacy. It did establish the Rounds legacy: a legacy of drift, poor vision, and bad stewardship of the people's money.