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Introducing the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry

An Overview of the Chamber’s Value Proposition

Bad laws are a threat to your business.  They can increase costs through higher taxes or time spent dealing with obscure regulations that can seem to be unrelated to public safety. 

South Dakota doesn’t have unreasonably high taxes or burdensome regulations.

The South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry deserves some of the credit for this.

The Chamber was formed to be an advocate and act as a watchdog for statewide issues ranging from legislation to ballot measures.  Recent significant actions led by the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry include:

During the 2016 election – Equipment operator unions from Minneapolis and Chicago spent $870,000 on ballot measure IM-23 which, if passed, would have made it legal for unions to charge non-union members an “agency fee” (usually 75% of dues).  The Chamber raised money, conducted debates and produced the ads against IM-23.  The result?  IM-23 was defeated by 79% voting “NO”.  (In 2006, the Chamber led the campaign to put in the State Constitution’s Bill of Rights the guarantee of a secret ballot vote before a union can begin representing workers – 70% voted yes).

We know how to organize a campaign, do the message polling to see what arguments truly reach voters and build coalitions to reach the public and win elections.   

2018 Legislative Session – The industrial and construction equipment manufacturers faced a bill that would have prohibited volume discounts to selected dealerships, forcing all dealers to be offered products at the same price – HB 1149 was killed in committee.

School Property Tax Levies – The State Legislature sets local school general fund and special education tax levies.  School general fund levies are the only property taxes where businesses pay more than homeowners, who in turn pay more than farmers/ranchers.  The Chamber keeps an eye on school levies to avoid having business pick up an unfair cost of education.  The Chamber was the first business group to inquire about the increase in the special education levy, now the subject of a legislative summer study. 

Here are the general fund and special education levy rates for both 2018 and 2019:

Class Property             General Fund              Special Ed Taxes        Total                 $/ % Increase

Agriculture                 $753/ $756                  $730/ $783                  $1,484/ 1,539      $55/ 4%

Homeowner                $1,686/ $1,691            $730/ $783                  $2,416/ 2,474      $58/ 2.4%

Commercial                $3,493/ $3,500            $730/ $783                  $4,224/ 4,284     $60/ 1.4%

Capitol-ism Newsletter – Each week during the legislative session members receive one or two issues of a newsletter titled “Capitol-ism” which gives analysis of key issues in a way that members can apply to their business or updates as key bills move through the process.

Here is a list of the Chamber’s expertise used during each and every day of each and every legislative session.

The 2018 Legislative Session considered more than 500 bills over the course of 38 days.  How many of these bills affected your business?  Do you know?

· When were those bills heard in front of a committee?

· When were they voted on by the full Senate/House?

· Is it possible to kill bills in a committee? 

· Can a bill be saved that has been tabled in committee?

· How and when does someone testify at a committee hearing? 

· How do you know when testifying is a good idea?  

· When can you talk to legislators about how a proposed law affects your business?

The South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry knows the answer to these questions. 

We know how the legislature works.  This is just one value of the dollars you give for membership support.  Someone is watching your back, someone who knows danger when they see it and what can be done about it.

The Chamber knows stuff that you simply don’t have time to learn.

Other Programs and Activites

Youth Business Adventure – Youth Camp.  The South Dakota Chamber of Commerce also conducts a camp for high school juniors that teach them how to run a business (a manufacturing simulation) as well as produce a TV commercial and have fun.  This is a week-long camp held on the campus of the University of South Dakota.

Giant Vision Entrepreneurship CompetitionThis annual competition is a partnership with Governor Daugaard and includes both a new business and a student competition.  2018 was the 14th year for the event.  Top prize for business is $20,000 and for students is $5,000.  All past applicants were surveyed in 2015 and the survey showed that Giant Vision played a significant role in the creation of over 625 new jobs at an average cost (based on prize money) of $943 per job. 

Annual Economic Outlook Seminar.  Held in Sioux Falls each year, this two hour seminar features an economic analysis of the region from a leading economist and industry leaders discussing trends and innovations in their businesses. The 2017 speakers were Ernie Goss, Ph.D., MacAllister Chair & Professor of Economics, Creighton University and Aaron Wiese, VP Strategy & Innovation, Hy-Vee.

Business Day at the Legislature.  Each February, State Chamber members and members of local chambers of commerce come to Pierre to meet legislators, the Governor’s cabinet members and key staff people.  During Business Day, the Chamber conducts its “Business Caucus” during which attendees answer questions about the issues before the legislature using their cell phones and see the results displayed immediately on a giant screen.  The results of Business Caucus are shared with legislators the next day and are of the most anticipated surveys taken during session.

Summary.  The South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry has a multifaceted approach to keeping South Dakota an investment worthy state.  Full time representation at the legislature (hired lobbyists cost up to $20,000/issue); ballot measure campaigns (management fees exceed $30,000); bulletins with analysis and updates (private service subscriptions can cost several hundred dollars); plus, programs to teach business to students, help emerging entrepreneurs and a gathering to analyze the region’s economy.    

The membership dollars needed from each member of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry represent a small investment compared to the costs of the services purchased individually.  Please call Mary Anne Boyd at 1-877-817-8215 (or email maryanneb@sdchamber.biz) and set up a meeting with Chamber President David Owen to explore in detail how the work of the State Chamber can benefit your business.

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