Leaders unveil bipartisan economic development package

South Dakota lawmakers have unveiled a bipartisan economic development package they say will help companies, employees and schools.

The complicated proposal incorporates many ideas that have been working their way through the Legislature this year, including a sales tax refund program championed by Rep. Scott Munsterman and a bill to give schools more money for teaching English language learners.

It also includes new elements: a new Building South Dakota fund will be created, which will grow gradually from taxes paid by new projects and from the state’s unclaimed property funds.

Money from that fund will then be paid out to help with local infrastructure, housing and education.

The proposal was unveiled in a joint news conference by the Republican and Democratic leaders of both houses of the Legislature, who said they’ve been negotiating the deal for months.

Work began after voters in November rejected Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s proposal for a large project economic development fund.

Unlike that proposal, the Building South Dakota package doesn’t take any existing tax revenue. It only takes tax revenue from projects that come to South Dakota under the Building South Dakota incentives.

The package will be debated at 7:45 a.m. on Monday. It will be an amendment to a bill, Senate Bill 235, which currently is simply a vehicle for amendments.

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