Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Thousand Dollars to Spend

Have you heard the commercial produced by Build It Now that is currently on the airways? Shelby and Heather are talking about their excursions to Sioux City and Omaha to see Tim McGraw and Justin Bieber and how they wish they could've spent their $1,000 dollar event and shopping spree in Sioux Falls.

The same day I heard that commercial, I read a story in the Argus Leader regarding the poverty in our school system. In May of this year, 46.8% of the elementary school students received free or reduced price meals at school.  To qualify for the federally funded program, families must be at less than 185 percent of the poverty level. That put the annual income limit at $33,874 for a household of three people last year or $40,793 for a family of four.

Percentage of Sioux Falls School District elementary students on free or reduced-price meals:
2010: 46.8
2009: 43.7
2008: 41.5
2007: 38.6
2006: 37.6
2005: 36.8
2004: 36.6

How lucky for Shelby and Heather that they had the discretionary income to blow $1,000 in one weekend to go see an entertainer and eat and shop in a distant city. Somehow, that commercial rings a little hollow after reading this article about the number of children and households eligible for free or reduced meals because of their poverty level income in this community.

I don't have the money to produce a commercial like Build It Now so here is my idea of a commercial for you to read:

John: This event center vote has me wondering whether voting yes is the right thing for Sioux Falls.

Judy: You know, the mayor promised there would be a down payment and now he says we have to finance the whole thing.

John: You mean he is breaking his promise to the taxpayers?

Judy: Not only that. There was a promise that there would be private sector funding to help pay for an event center and no one has stepped forward with any money.

John: Well, if promises are broken now how do we know anything the city promises about this plan will come true?

Judy: That's the thing John, promises are a dime a dozen.  Its hard facts we need, not promises and  projections based on estimates and a rosy picture of if we build it they will come.

John: I'm voting no on November 8th.


  1. I'm voting no on the Event Center. With all the economic uncertainty and real needs in our community, the EC is a credit card we can't afford.

  2. The backpack program for kids is running out of supplies because of the large demand, social services at Minnehaha county will has shown and huge increase in demand and now this story about the number of kids getting reduced schol meals. Why hasn't the media connectd the dots here? Is it because they support the EC? I think so.

  3. This Shelby is voting NO not because I don't want a new EC in Sioux Falls, but because I think taking on this much debt in such uncertain financial times is not prudent for the citizens of Sioux Falls. Plus, I not believe the arena location will generate the economic development that will increase our city revenue. My business acumen tells me that this current plan stinks.