A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard:
Earlier this month, I spent the day in Brookings attending a number of economic development celebrations: a groundbreaking ceremony for SDSU’s Swine Teaching and Research Facility, ribbon cuttings at Bel Brands and Counterpart, and an expansion announcement at 3M.
The day was truly a testament to Brookings’ growing economy. The city has seen success after success thanks to cooperation among business, university and civic leaders in the community. SDSU is producing graduates with technical skills in high demand, and local business leaders have built a team that welcomes development.
Brookings isn’t the only town that’s been seeing success. Business has been good throughout South Dakota.
Over the past few years, a number of outside businesses have opened new locations in South Dakota. Pipeline Plastics, a Texas-based pipeline manufacturer, is now manufacturing in Belle Fourche. On the other side of the state, Marmen Energy chose Brandon for its first U.S. location to build wind towers. Sterling moved its headquarters from Norfolk, Nebraska, to Dakota Dunes; and ALCOM opened up operations in Sioux Falls.
In addition, our existing businesses have been expanding. Places like Trail King in Mitchell, PerGroup in Rapid City and Sapa in Yankton are all adding jobs.
Why are things going so well in South Dakota? Let’s consider:
First, the cost of doing business in South Dakota is low. The U. S. Department of Commerce says our costs – utilities, occupancy, transportation and other costs are reasonably low for businesses – only 88 percent of the U.S. average. Other states like California, Hawaii, New York and New Jersey are all over 112 percent of the national average.
Businesses also have an advantage here because the tax burden is low. We have no corporate income tax, no personal income tax, no business inventory tax, no personal property tax and no inheritance tax. This creates a more favorable environment for growth by putting more money in the pockets of our businesses and workers.
Our reasonable regulatory climate also makes us business-friendly. Earlier this year, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce named South Dakota’s business climate as best in the nation. We don’t make things unnecessarily burdensome for our entrepreneurs. We know things shouldn’t be overcomplicated for job-creators who are trying to know and obey the laws.
Finally, we have economic development programs in place to help businesses get started or expand. In addition to grants and loans, the state offers the Certified Ready Sites program. Under this program the Governor’s Office of Economic Development partners with cities and development groups to ready communities for future economic development opportunities. We work with local entities to make well-packaged information available to prospective buyers beforehand.
Although these factors have all contributed to our economic success, I know most of the credit for that success belongs, not to government, but to hard working South Dakota families and businesses. Thanks to you, there are more jobs in South Dakota today than ever before.