That Sioux Falls paper gives SDGOP chair Dan Lederman a chance to respond to the brouhaha about his holding an active registration as a Democratic voter in Iowa. While Lederman likens himself to former Democrat Ronald Reagan and smartly exploits the free press to recruit for his party, he says nothing about the salient legal issue: why, as of July of this year, was he registered to vote in both Iowa and South Dakota?
An astute reader finds an Iowa statute (636.11) that says, “An agent for a company authorized to engage in the business of becoming surety upon bonds must be a resident of this state for the purpose of acting on behalf of the surety company with respect to any bond or bail in criminal cases.” That statute suggests that, when Lederman moved to South Dakota in 1996, he would have lost the ability to serve as an agent in his own bail bondsman company. Keeping his Iowa voter registration might have kept Lederman freer all these years to conduct business activities in Iowa.
Of course, if voter registration were sufficient to retain residency status for Lederman’s business purposes, might that not also mean he retained residency status for Iowa state income tax purposes? Another Iowa statute (38.17(2)) includes voter registration as one of the criteria for establishing “domicile” for income tax purposes:
There is a rebuttable presumption that an individual is domiciled in Iowa if the individual meets the following factors:
(1) Maintains a residence or place of abode in Iowa, whether owned, rented, or occupied, even if the individual is in Iowa less than 183 days of the tax year, and either
(2) Claims a homestead credit or military tax exemption on a home in Iowa, or
(3) Is registered to vote in Iowa, or
(4) Maintains an Iowa driver’s license, or
(5) Does not reside in an abode in any other state for more days of the tax year than the individual resides in Iowa.
Even if Lederman sleeps most nights at his golf course villa just across the river, keeping a flop in Newton, Iowa and calling it his residence for voter registration purposes could be enough to subject his bountiful income to the Iowa taxman’s consideration.
So Dan Lederman really is like Ronald Reagan: he’s very good at avoiding questions. Sioux Falls paper, you’d better invite Lederman back and ask him again about his curious dual voter registration.
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Donald Trump had a tough day yesterday. His candidate in Alabama lost (driving him to delete Presidential tweets), his #1 legislative promise failed again, and to top it off, he had to sit in a room pretending to know Kristi Noem’s name and details of the tax plan his aides are writing up for him:
She says there are a lot of positives for South Dakotans in the president’s tax proposal.
85 percent of mothers work outside the home in South Dakota, which is the highest rate in the country. Trump’s proposal has tax cuts for child care included.
The tax reform would also get rid of the death tax, which is something Noem has been pushing for.
Noem believes there are plenty of incentives for Democrats to get on board as well.
“You know, one of the things they always talk about is they don’t want more tax cuts for the rich. We were focused on making sure the average American and average South Dakotans are getting more money in their pockets to re-invest in their small businesses and families,” Noem said [Sammi Bjelland, “Rep. Noem Supports Trump’s Tax Proposal,” KELO-TV, 2017.09.26].
Funny she mentions focusing on average Americans and the “death tax”—come on KELO: estate tax—in the same interview. The average American is millions of dollars away from ever having to pay estate tax. There may be twenty taxable estates in South Dakota. Twenty. Eliminating the federal estate tax is another tax cut for the rich, which lies outside Noem’s professed focus.
The Trump tax plan makes permanent the loophole that allows big multinational corporations dodge taxes by claiming they made the money overseas and lets them bring those profits home without paying any tax. None of my average friends own multinational corporations. Making this tax dodge permanent is another tax cut for the rich, which lies outside Noem’s professed focus.
Maybe Kristi mispronounced a vowel when she said focus. Either that, or hanging out with billionaires like the Donald in Washington has changed her definition of average American.
In 2015 Chuck Brennan and his team launched a massive community enhancement project called Badlands. This project included the best Race track and outdoor amphitheater ever built in the Midwest. It included a 70,000 square foot “Pawn Shop” that had a foundry, tattoo parlor, deli, gun range, gun store, concert venue, music department, casino, house band, entertainment group, radio station and retail store. It created the best Rock station ever in Sioux Falls in KBAD with #1 ratings for 18 months in a row. It created a state of the art Gun Store with an indoor 14 lane shooting range allowing members of law enforcement to shoot for free. At costs of over $75,000,000 spent mostly with South Dakota businesses, and providing over 400 jobs, it made a major impact.
…Without the financial support of Dollar Loan Center, and with an unknown time line, we must make difficult business decisions.
Effective immediately we are permanently closing the Badlands Entities and putting all of the properties and assets on the market for sale [Statement posted on KBAD945.com, 2017.09.23].
Yo, Chuck: a project that enhances the community doesn’t need to rely on business schemes that break the law and trap vulnerable members of the community in debt.
Wheat Growers and North Central tried to merge two years ago. Wheat Growers members voted 61% to 39% (1,533 to 995) in favor of merging, but North Central members voted 51% to 49% (809 to 767) against. State law (see SDCL Chapters 47-15 through 47-21, specifically SDCL 47-18-1 and SDCL 47-15-8*) requires a simple majority vote of both cooperatives to approve a merger; thus, 42 North Central members out of 4,104 from both coops voting tanked the deal.
I have no idea how much the coops’ twenty meetings in their service areas, from Eldridge, North Dakota, to McLaughlin, Stickney, and Willow Lake may have moved the needle of member sentiment. An Anti-Merger Alliance lobbied against the 2015 merger online and in the press; a casual search finds no activity on that Facebook page this time and no apparent effort under a different group name.
I do notice, though, one small word choice. This time around, the boards seem to think it is very important not to say the word merger. In their letters to members, statements to the press, and advertising in the Aberdeen American News over the past month, leaders of Wheat Growers and North Central are keen to refer to the merger as unification. In their guest column posted this a.m. by AAN, coop chiefs Rick Osterday of North Central and Hal Clemensen of Wheat Growers say unificationnine times. They use merge once, in a pejorative sense against the Big Ag dictators against whom they propose unifying:
There are those few who believe that the proposed unification somehow is anti-competition or will increase costs. Here’s the reality. The producer in today’s local ag economy stands in the towering shadow of several mega-merged organizations that all are intent on dictating the terms for how producers go to market. These profit-driven companies answer to directors elsewhere who have no stake in the performance of individual farmers in rural South Dakota.
To overlook the opportunities and benefits offered by this proposed unification is to ignore the lessons learned over the past 100 years. Unification offers us the best opportunity to step outside of that shadow and pursue the success of all our members. It is producer success that is at the core of why this unification is important [emphasis mine; Rick Osterday and Hal Clemensen, op-ed, “Co-ops: Merger Is for the Common Good,” Aberdeen American News, 2017.09.17].
Goliaths merge; Davids unify—someone must have focus-grouped these words and noticed all sorts of happy twitches at mention of the u-word. Throw in marginalization of the opposition (There are those few…) and antipathy toward outsiders (no stake… in rural South Dakota), and you have a finely crafted South Dakota campaign piece.
AAN columnist Gerald Krueger is apparently one of those few, and he’s not buying the rebranding. Krueger says the 2015 vote should have settled the matter:
“Bigger” doesn’t always solve the problem. What would make the difference if one or both co-ops get bought by some giant conglomerate? They are still too big.
Getting big means the little guys, which includes many of us, just get thrown under the bus. If you’re not big, don’t bother us. And getting too big to manage is always a fear that never really goes away.
…There should be a clarion call to join in the squelching of this really controversial idea. Calling this move a “unification” does not describe this change very well [Gerald Kruger, “The Little Guy Loses in Merger,” Aberdeen American News, 2017.09.17].
Coop members, you have a week and a half to pick your side and submit your ballots.
*Correction 18:53 CDT: I have corrected the statutory citation, which originally referred to the chapter on rural electric cooperatives. However, agricultural coops and rural electric coops are subject to the same requirements: a merger must be approved by majority vote of each cooperative’s members.
Construction industry leaders in the Sioux Falls area want to change the state’s driving laws to make it easier for Spanish speakers to get behind the wheel. Language restrictions have created a drag on the workforce in a fast-growing industry that also drives the growth of the state’s largest city.
Most states offer driving tests in different languages. South Dakota does not.
The Legislature passed and Governor Bill Janklow signed a law (SDCL 1-27-20) in 1995 declaring English the “common” state language and designating that common language as “the language of any official public document or record and any official public meeting.” The “the” in that clause means that when aspiring drivers sit for the test to get their license, the official test that the state plunks in front of them must be written only in English.
Roadbuilder BX Civil and Construction of Dell Rapids tells Anderson that about 60 of its 100 workers are Hispanic. The construction execs talking about easing the language restrictions on driver’s license tests seem to be focusing on allowing Spanish versions of those tests. But if there is a civil rights issue with offering our driving tests in only one language, there’s a civil rights issue with offering those tests in only two languages. Employers can’t up and say they only want more Hispanic workers; whatever legal changes they propose need to offer equal opportunity to all workers, regardless of national origin or native tongue.
Senator Bob Ewing (R-31/Spearfish) isn’t shopping at the Spearfish Sears, due to marijuana politics.
Spearfish Sears owners Phil and Stephanie Rebsom have been circulating petitions from new Approach SD and Death with Dignity SD, seeking to place three initiatives dealing with medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, and assisted suicide on the 2018 ballot. The Rebsoms support all three measures. Phil Rebsom tells me he doesn’t smoke weed, but he and Stephanie say they supporting the petitions because they’ve had family who could have benefited from medical marijuana. They also say increased tax revenue from legal, regulated marijuana sales will help all South Dakotans.
Senator Ewing visited the Rebsom’s store Saturday to tell them he disagrees. Senator Ewing tells me, “I personally don’t support any marijuana measures at this time.” He says “There were no cross words exchanged”; the Senator simply told Rebsom that he “would not personally be trading at his store due to his support of the petition.”
I do not condone telling anyone else to not trade with anyone in business. I do not wish anyone in business any ill will. We are all entitled to our opinion. I respect his and I hope he respects mine as well. I would never bad mouth a business or other business owner [Senator Bob Ewing, statement to Dakota Free Press, 2017.07.20].
We’re all entitled to our opinions, but not to each other’s business.
The Rebsoms sound unconcerned. They don’t recall Senator Ewing coming in and spending any substantial sums in their store before the petitions came out. They say complaints like Senator Ewing’s have been rare… certainly rarer than the number of people signing the petitions.
Attorney General Marty Jackley has said more than once that he could support medical marijuana under three conditions:
“What I have indicated as Attorney General from a matter of public safety and a matter of public health that in order for me to likely support a Marijuana piece of legislation I would need three major protections in place.” South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley tells KSFY News those three protections would allow for true medicinal use and not open the door to abuse. “One would be FDA approval, one would be a South Dakota physician prescribing the medication and the other would be a South Dakota pharmacist dispensing it” [“Medical Marijuana Supporters Hope to See Legislation in Pierre,” KSFY, 2017.01.13].
Please welcome the Brandon Pharmacy to our team as a permanent signing location for the petitions. Located at 116 E Holly Blvd in Brandon, SD. Dr Tom & his family are excited to welcome you to their business in order to bring compassion to SD.
…Please support local businesses that support our cause. Together we can move mountains [New Approach South Dakota, Facebook post, 2017.07.12].
Bob Mercer notes that the Regents have now spent $90,000 on a consultant from New Hampshire to tell them what they need to hear to carry out that conversion of the Sioux Falls University Center into a community college, or essentially, a slightly more academic version of Southeast Technical Institute.
The report the Regents will consider this week recommends that the University Center add more associate-level programs and award two-year degrees and certificates through USD in addition to its bachelor’s and master’s degrees through USD, SDSU, and DSU. The new programs should focus on producing workers in health care, financial and business services, manufacturing, and information technology:
To keep the UC focused on filling gaps in the “talent pipeline” (remember: workers are but one more substance poured into the industrial machine), the report recommends a new board to “guide” the new UC community college (SFUCCC, right?). The “Community Strategy and Steering Board” would include employers, industry associations, community-civic organizations, development organizations, city officials, and K-12 education who would make the new UC “an institution responsive to Sioux Falls.”
Several of my non-metro readers might raise an eyebrow at the notion of creating a Regental institution that’s responsive to the needs of one city rather than the entire state. However, as the consultant points out, Sioux Falls has “thirty percent of the state’s population and thirty-four percent of its employment base.” About a third of Sioux Falls high school graduates don’t enroll in college within 16 months of graduation, and a big chunk of Sioux Falls workers don’t have any kind of degree. If the Regents want to meet their goal of getting degrees of some sort in the hands of 65% of South Dakotans, they can’t ignore the traditionally underserved Sioux Falls market.
The focus on Sioux Falls coincides with a focus on USD:
While the current Memorandum of Understanding between USD, DSU and SDSU identifies USD as the lead managerial entity for the UC, we recommend that this agreement be strengthened to clarify USD’s role as the sole governing authority for the New UC.2 USD, under the purview of the South Dakota Board of Regents, should oversee the operations of the New UC and develop an array of needed certificate and associate degree programming at the New UC aligned with Sioux Falls’ needs. This is a necessary step to provide USD a clear mandate and responsibility to re-shape and refocus the New UC. Other regental institutions will continue to offer programs and award degrees in partnership with the New UC. These partners should be the institutions of first choice for program design and delivery if they can meet the intent of the mission, vision and values to serve Sioux Falls students and employers [FutureWorks, 2017.06.01, pp. viii–ix].
The report notes that undergraduate plus graduate headcount at the SFUC dropped from 2,041 in fall 2010 to 1,200 in fall 2016. Convert to a community college, focus on Sioux Falls industry needs, put USD in charge, and the new UC can enroll 400 students in its new programs in its first year, 1,800 by year six, and ultimately a sustained headcount of 4,000 students corresponding to full-time-equivalent enrollment of 2,500. Those new students will require 30 new full-time instructors and 56 part-time instructors. That expansion will cost just about $13,000 per student, or ultimately $32 million per year.
The report gently suggests that “The development of adequate operational funding for the New UC will be a challenge in the absence of additional statewide funding for education,” which is code for, Legislature! If you want workforce development in Sioux Falls, get ready to pay for it! (Hmm… do you suppose Speaker Mickelson will be willing to share some of his vo-tech tobacco tax with the new UC community college?)
The report doesn’t line-item its expectation of the Legislature, but it does suggest that “State and Local Appropriations” should cover 47% of the cost while students carry 30% through tuition:
“Local” appropriations—Sioux Falls City Council? Sioux Falls School District? Are you ready to chip in for your city’s community college?
KELO TV reports that the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee is recruiting volunteers to welcome visitors to the big game in Minneapolis next February 4. The volunteer recruitment pitchman is South Dakota native NFLer Chad Greenway:
The NFL will take in $14 billion this year, the average player makes $2.1 million, and they want hundreds of people to come work their big advertising and tourism event for free?