|RC Central Cobblers|
Please Stay In SD . Pleeease.
(photo from googleimages.com)
Daugaard tries to make an economic case refuting that reality, but he fails. Using an uncited Department of Commerce report, Daugaard claims that South Dakota has a "very low cost of living," which I think is bunk. I'd love to see the report, because it contradicts virtually every other conclusion that's widely disseminated and available. For example, using Bureau of Labor Statistics data, last summer USA Today concluded that South Dakota is the 8th worst state in America to make a living. Specifically, the listing notes that South Dakota's cost of living index is at 101.3, slightly higher than the national average. Meantime, USA Today concludes that South Dakota's average income is second lowest in the United States. Governor Daugaard's pollyanish view notwithstanding,
|101.3 Of COL In U.S.|
It Isn't That Cheap To Live In SD
(graphic from ACCRA)
Even more misleading about Daugaard's stay-at-home pitch is his incomplete picture of our state's tax situation. The governor claims that because South Dakota has no income tax, workers here "can keep more of the money you earn." That is actually quite laughable when you consider the unfairness of South Dakota's tax system, so heavily weighted to sales and excise taxes. Workers here pay a much higher share of their incomes in taxes than their bosses because of the essentially regressive nature of sales taxes. The Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy ranks South Dakota among the 10 most regressive tax systems in the United States. And what do our workers get for their disproportionately higher tax rates? Stuff that I love, actually: a state where, as Daugaard puts it, recent grads can see "the stars at night," enjoy "the wide open spaces," and "have the company of friendly, down-to-earth people." Happily, I could afford to indulge these yearnings when I moved here. For recent high school graduates more focused on economic--as opposed to lifestyle--opportunities, it's probably a much different story. They can see stars elsewhere and make much better money while doing so.