Lawmakers Oppose Creating Large Project Development Fund
By Jackelyn Severin
Lawmakers in the House State Affairs committee passed a measure proposing to increase economic development. House Bill 1230 takes a portion of the contractor’s excise tax and creates the Large Project Development Fund used to incentivise businesses to come to South Dakota. Opponents of the measure say it benefits corporations at the cost of schools and the elderly.
Representative Bernie Hunhoff of Yankton says he would support House Bill 1230 if it had a different funding source. He says the contractor’s excise tax should remain in the general fund to support health care providers and education.
Hunhoff says, "To bleed money away from the general fund for schools anytime, I think even in times when schools are adequately funded would be wrong. But I don’t think anybody in this committee can argue, especially after this budget year, that schools are adequately funded and we’re going to take millions and millions more away from schools."
Hunhoff and other opponents say many economic development studies show a strong public education system attracts businesses better than tax incentives. Also they say this fund would not be subject to an annual review by lawmakers because it is a continuous appropriation.
The House State Affairs committee passed the measure by a vote of 9 to 4. It now goes to the House Floor.
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