Roger Musick leaves this comment:
Steve, you have to make it simple for me, remember I am not part of the class with a Masters degree. In my simple mind for a bribe you need a briber and a bribee. So did the State bribe the County or did the County bribe the State. Who should go to jail?
I have no idea how you are connecting a transportation tax for the roads and bridges with other economic development projects.
As I covered in March, the state retained a large portion of the license plate tax increase and will issue "grants" with the counties wheel tax being the main criteria. Nobody is going to jail because the state legislature legalized the bribe.
Second, I already witnessed that the main proponents of the $85 million road tax increase during the South Dakota Senate State Affairs committee included Chamber members and economic development representatives.
Third, last week Bob Mercer reported that the SDDOT is a major contributor to the economic development process:
“DOT is probably one of the largest economic developers in the state,” Morris said.
The report provided this about Morris:
The state Transportation Commission received a pitch Thursday to make loans more frequently to counties and cities for road projects.
Federal funds already can be used in South Dakota for loans on local projects that qualify for a federal secondary designation.
But project developer Tobin Morris and state Transportation Secretary Darin Bergquist now suggest there might be a way to reach projects that don’t meet the federal requirements.
They said the state Department of Transportation could make loans from the department’s state funds to such local projects.
In turn, the state department could take loans from the federal program to make its funding balance.
The concept could be one piece of the financing for an agriculture-services development proposed by Dakota Plains for a 200-acre site in Yankton County.
Morris said the county commission supports using a tax-increment financing (TIF) district to raise the revenue to repay the loan.
TIFs result in shifting tax burdens from those who benefit from governmental subsidies to the rest of us. In this case, projects that "don't meet the federal requirements" are paid for by the local taxpayers. This is an example of what I call "legalized" corruption.