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Celebrate Crony Capitalism Today at Benda Apartments Open House in Madison

The Richard Benda Memorial Apartment Complex holds an open house today in Madison to celebrate the vital role crony capitalism plays in meeting market needs.

Jane Utecht's report on the tax-increment-financed Lake Area Townhomes indicates there is great demand for housing in Madison:

"We have a lot of people call because there is not enough housing in Madison," said Jamie McKinney, manager of the Mills Property office in Madison. Because of this shortage, 15 of the 28 townhouses are already rented, she said, even though only 14 are complete.

McKinney said some calls come from college students, but most of the townhouses are filling with people new to town -- some working at local factories, some at the university, some in health care.

"You hear countless stories of people who commute or turn down job offers" because they can't find housing in the Madison area, said Julie Gross, executive director of the Lake Area Improvement Corporation. "If we want to grow, we need housing [Jane Utecht, "New Townhomes Hosting Open House Wednesday," Madison Daily Leader, 2014.08.26].

Utecht notes that the Lake County Commission just approved another tax increment finance district to support a similar housing development on the east side of town.

Utecht fails to find anyone who can answer this fundamental political and economic question: if these housing units are such a sure sell, if "countless" commuters and job-seekers are aching to come to Madison, why does government have to lift a finger—or in this case, one penny of tax burden—to meet this market need?


  1. Nick Nemec 2014.08.27

    Maybe capitalism and the free market don't work.

  2. Steve Sibson 2014.08.27

    Cory, that same housing argument is being played out in Mitchell too. And when the city of Mitchell hit their debt limit, the crony capitalists went to the county for the TIFs.

    Here is the economic development process:

    1). We need jobs, so give government money to bribe business to locate in our city.
    2). Now we don't have enough people to fill those jobs, so we need government to recruit people to move to the city.
    3). We now don't have enough housing, so we need the government to fund TIFs.
    4) Then when all of this Keynesian based planned economies built on debt folds, those people living in those housing units are standing in line at the unemployment office.

    Such is the process to reach full employment.

    Deb, do the smart people in Minnesota do this too?

  3. owen reitzel 2014.08.27

    we have the same problem here in Alexandria but I think the key word here is "affordable" housing. Homes can be as much as $150,000 and higher. Somebody who makes maybe $17-$18 an house still can't afford a home.

  4. Rorschach 2014.08.27

    For once Mr. Sibson says something that makes sense.

  5. Tara Volesky 2014.08.27

    Sibby, I hope you come to the forum tonight at city hall on building a $6 million dollar pool on the campus of Dakota Wesleyan paid for by the taxpayers of Mitchell.

  6. Steve Sibson 2014.08.27

    Tara, I am thinking about it. I am busy dealing with the crony capitalist's fine arts center. I am trying to get the paper to print my Op-Ed that I sent with the application for the vacate position on the school board..

  7. PNR 2014.08.27

    The only reason for government to provide "incentives" - tax subsidies (or breaks), guaranteed loans, etc. - is because it does not at present make market sense to do what government is trying to incentivize.

    In other words, "I think it's a dumb thing to do with my money, but it's a brilliant thing to do with taxpayer money."

    Get rid of 'em all - ag, energy, housing, and all the other subsidies. Clean-slate.

  8. larry kurtz 2014.08.27 enforcement and prison industry subsidies, 'homeland security'....

  9. Eve Fisher 2014.08.27

    I note that they're charging between $650-$1150 a month for apartments with views of the trailer park or Falcon Plastics, and no elbow room at all. At $10 bucks an hour, $1150 rent equals 66% of one's income. Yeah, these are real affordable. And real luxury.

  10. jerry 2014.08.27

    Portland and Bend Oregon have what are called "tiny homes" for folks that are barely making ends meet. The rent is about 300 to 350 per month. The houses are built upon city owned land that will provide a gateway for these folks to help themselves get a leg up. This robbery in Madison is just another example of the tweaking of a government program to provide risk free investment for the well heeled that will do nothing to help the shortage of affordable housing. How can the investors loose on this cash cow?

  11. Lynn 2014.08.27

    It looks like the SD Governor's house program is good being well built, energy efficient, handicap accessible and affordable.

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.08.27

    Indeed, Eve: the developers get a tax break to take advantage of a tight rental market.

  13. bearcreekbat 2014.08.27

    I think jerry probably nailed it. Expensive new homes and apartments simply do not address the needs of most folks. And as you said Cory, if the demand is really there then what is the point of taxpayer subsidies.

  14. jerry 2014.08.28

    The hypocrisy of the ruling party is very clear. They name a corrupt system of housing after a man who was maybe under indictment for theft of public funds so they can collect rent subsidies from a federal government they do not "trust" to fund Medicaid Expansion for the poor. Welcome to South Dakota, where the poor are always the pawns in the game of monopoly that is played by our wealthy corrupt republican overlords.

    I can tell you this, the Hutterites for one, could build housing for rentals that would be energy efficient with cost savings to the taxpayers of well south of half for those construction costs. If the taxpayers were all that concerned about housing in Madison, they should have done a little research to see how they are allowing themselves to be a part of corruption.

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