The Rounds-Daugaard regime botched its administration of the EB-5 visa investment program. The state hilariously asserts that it should not be punished for our past failure, which sounds a lot like a drunk driver saying he shouldn’t lose his license for crashing into that bus last night.
My local newspaper doesn’t call Rounds and Daugaard drunk drivers, but it does recommend the state give up its EB-5 license:
Control of the EB-5 program pretty well switched hands in 2009, when the state allowed the newly formed private company SDRC Inc. to run it with little to no oversight.
That led to several investigations, lawsuits, at least one failed project, a death and a mess of money that wasn’t necessarily used for its intended purpose.
…EB-5, under South Dakota or the company the state privately contracted with, has run its course. Trying to keep the state’s hand in the program continues to waste the time of officials who likely have other things to focus on.
Not only is the continued pursuit of ability to administer EB-5 a waste of time and energy, and could continue to come at a cost. Pursuing the program is a disservice to those who are already investing and living in our state [editorial board, “SD Must Walk Away from EB-5,” Aberdeen American News, 2016.08.14].
The Rounds-Daugaard regime also mismanaged the stimulus dollars it gladly took to balance our state budget in 2009. We took $23.7 million in Department of Energy stimulus dollars conditioned on improving energy efficiency, promised to fulfill those conditions, and then didn’t:
The state failed to make good on the assurances required by the federal government to enact statewide building code requirements making new homes and commercial buildings more energy efficient, an Argus Leader Media investigation found. Now, a 2017 deadline is looming: In return for taking the energy efficiency money, states have until 2017 to adopt more efficient energy codes and to create a plan to ensure that at least 90 percent of new buildings are compliant.
In South Dakota, there’s no plan because the state has no mandatory statewide energy codes [Jonathan Ellis, “How South Dakota Took the Money and Ran,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2016.08.13].
Ellis reports that a state task force looked closely at the stimulus conditions and decided to gamble that there would be no enforcement. But just like with EB-5, we may lose out on future opportunities:
Realistically, said Maureen Guttman, the president of the Building Codes Assistance Project, which advocates for stronger building codes, the Department of Energy can’t “claw back” the money it gave South Dakota. But if the state expects future funding, that could be put at risk
“I do think they could use it as criteria for future eligibility. Absolutely I do,” Guttman said [Ellis, 2016.08.13].
South Dakota Republicans preach personal responsibility, but they don’t seem to apply that concept to their own administration of federal funds. On EB-5 and now stimulus dollars, the feds are getting wise to South Dakota’s game, and they’re going to hold us responsible for our errors.