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TIF #3: Madison Can’t Build Housing Without Tax Handouts

One of Richard Benda's final public projects was convincing the Lake County Commission to give a tax handout to his employer Lloyd Companies' housing project in Madison. In homage to Benda's crony capitalism, the Madison City Commission is following up with another housing handout. At Monday's meeting, the city commission approved a third tax increment district for Madison, this time to help Brenda Thompson build 14 townhome units on Northeast Third Street.

Given the experience of Benda/Lloyd last year and Regent and real estater Randy Schaefer in 2007, it appears that no developer can afford to build housing in Madison without government cutting their expenses by applying their taxes to paying off construction instead of supporting public works... which is funny, because supposedly we're building these houses because there's such great demand due to Global Polymer and other employers moving into town.

Are market forces really not enough to get developers to invest in housing in Madison? Or is Madison simply suffering from the same disease that ultimately felled Richard Benda, the idea that public economic development efforts are just one more way to help your rich friends get richer?


  1. Jerry 2014.04.30

    Ya nailed it Cory! That is exactly what these favorable tax gimmees are all about. We are helping our rich friends keep their own money and risk by passing it onto us rubes. It is called typical republican fleecing. Then to further it, bitch and moan about the property taxes that must be assessed to cover the upkeep for the infrastructure. It is a beautiful scam and has worked very well.

  2. Ruth 2014.04.30

    Agree totally. Please wake up Madison people. Come on city commissioners and mayor. Someone has to take a stand but who will it be? It is something that has to be controlled so the people in Madison don't get taxed out of their homes. We just aren't seeing our taxes do the proper maintenance infrastructure. It's paying someone elses projects and we are getting the "sham".

  3. Tim 2014.04.30

    Rapid City has been doing this for years, you should see the taxes I pay on a 80k shack. ($1928 this year)

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.04.30

    And Tim, does Rapid City let you pay off any of your construction costs or mortgage with your property taxes?

  5. lora hubbel 2014.05.01

    I have mentioned this on blogs and questioned a city council candidate if they thought the way Sioux Falls uses TIFs was legal or ethical...neither answered me. This is yet another form of cronyism that I have been bringing up... but if a woman questions it...the topic is ignored and put in the "post-menopausal" memo stack.

  6. Jerry 2014.05.01

    Ouch, "post-menopausal" because a woman asked it, is terrible. Even if someone thinks that way it is bad enough, the least they could do is answer the question that you already know. Yes, it is cronyism and yes, it is just another way to fleece the taxpayers. So why did you give up trying to get them to answer you for the record?

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.05.01

    Lora, you're crazy about a lot of stuff, but I have never called and will never call you that as a way to dismiss a good question. Jerry's right: whacking you with that term is sexist piggery and evasion.

  8. Nick Nemec 2014.05.01

    There are many important issues where the conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats can agree. The proliferation of crony capitalism in this state is one. GOED, EB-5, TIF districts are all part of the crony capitalism pie. They all stink and divert tax dollars that could be used for the collective public good to special interests and to line the pockets of the well connected.

    "Sign off on this million dollar grant, it'll be good for economic development."

    "Oh, look, a $5000 campaign contribution."

    "Move along folks nothing to see here."

    Isn't that how it works Mike and Dennis.

  9. lora hubbel 2014.05.01

    Jerry, I haven't given up...I had a press release in Corruption and the Argus (David Mongomery ) ignored 40 minutes of my documenting corruption and lies about the past 2 governors and only reported on question from the audience! Some plant piped up out of the blue about FEMA camps....WHAT? was he even listening to what I said? So I politely told him that wasn't my issue, that rumors like that have been around for a long time...and what do the Argus and Blogs talk about? FEMA camps without ever looking at my video (thank God I took one!)Its on my FB if you want to see it. I did not talk about the TIFs however...heck if I talked about all the corruption in Pierre and their local cronies, I would still be there....

  10. Tara Volesky 2014.05.01

    Yea Lora, your gloves are off and exposing Daugaard and Rounds with facts on corruption. You had stacks of documentation and proof but instead you were criticized and ridiculed because you were telling the truth. You are not a member of any inside political elite which makes you are an outsider. Stay that way. Those are the kind of candidates we need, someone that will call out their owe party politicians for practicing corruption. You emulate Jesus, and look what they did to him. It's a tough world out there. I had a publisher tell me yesterday...I hate f*#@ing politics.

  11. larry kurtz 2014.05.01

    Any publisher who hates politics should be fired. You go, Lora: and take Tara with you.

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