Sunday, April 19, 2015

Only the GOP Could Make Life on Mars Look Better than South Dakota

What do South Dakota and Mars have in common?  Little aliens running around with Pu-36, a giant land mass that looks like a face on it, or a barren wasteland that promises little more than hardships and death.

If you picked the second one, you were probably thinking about Mount Rushmore, but that several faces and not one mysterious face placed by aliens.  The correct answer is a barren wasteland.  At least that is how many people not living in this state see it and our Governor.  

South Dakota continues to struggle to figure out why they can't get more people to come to South Dakota for the low wages and great faces.  Despite the fact that they could ask pretty much anyone not in the GOP political machine or a business owner that contributes to the political machine, they decided to have Lawrence and Schiller do some focus group studies.  Some of the responses reported in the Argus Leader today include:
"My friends would think I'm crazy to go to either of the Dakotas, because they probably just think it's a barren wasteland, that there's not much to do, not much job opportunities. It gets cold there. Really cold there."...
"South Dakota is mainly cattle, sheep, horses, livestock … living off the ranch, taking care of the ranch. It's not as industrial, not as technical."... 
"If you're not in that tourism industry, I don't think the opportunities are there."
They also thought there weren't as many opportunities to change employers, and that there were limited opportunities for movement within the company, small family-owned businesses, suburban office parks and lower salaries.
So what is the solution, rebrand yourself without changing yourself!  We don't need to offer more wages, we should stay a right to work state that focuses on the needs of the employer over the needs of the worker, we don't need to offer access to more health with expanded Medicare, we don't need to show that education is important in our state.  We spend a bunch of money on tourism, but all we get out of that is Mount Rushmore, Sturgis, motorcycles, and prairies.  

The most interesting comment is a statement by Pat Costello on the lack of a state income tax:
"One of our mantras for business is no state income tax," Costello said. "That didn't resonate with individuals. Individuals viewed that as maybe the state doesn't have good education or fire protection or crime might be high or the park system not adequate. That was almost a quality of life deterrent."
I am sure this will be remembered when trying to find ways to get more funding for education in our state.  Until we start doing things differently in this state, living will be the only benefit over Mars for most people that do not live in this state. 

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