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New Business Incentive Plan Passes SD Legislature

March 11, 2013

PIERRE, S.D. - South Dakota legislators passed an omnibus business incentive plan in the last days of the 2013 session, the "Building South Dakota" fund. New projects costing at least $20 million would be eligible for reinvestment payments, and existing businesses could get the payments by spending at least $2 million on equipment.

According to Mark Anderson, president of the South Dakota State Federation of Labor, it's a good compromise.

"Well, I think it's probably going to be a good bill because it designates where money goes if it's not used, and it also is pretty transparent, so we're going to be able to see what actually is happening with economic development dollars," he said.

The Legislature added $7 million in seed money to start the program. It will also use money from the contractors' excise tax, and the unclaimed property fund.

A special fund will be created to collect money that can be distributed for infrastructure improvements, housing, education, work-force training and local economic development. Anderson said adding the housing piece was an important breakthrough.

"Well, the housing opportunity fund is something that every state in the union has but South Dakota, so I think that is going to be helpful," he stated. "Because for housing, the issue seems to be it's not getting houses built, it's the infrastructure that supports them is the problem, so that's the intention I think of that program."

A large business development plan backed by Governor Dennis Daugaard was referred and defeated by state voters last November. Anderson said the "Building South Dakota" plan seemed however to have good, bipartisan support.

"So I think this gave an opportunity for people to really consider this and figure out what's best, what works and what doesn't work, and we'll go on from there," he said.

The South Dakota State Federation of Labor has about 8000 members statewide.

Jerry Oster, Public News Service - SD