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New Governors' Agendas 2011: Dennis Daugaard, South Dakota

In January, new governors were inaugurated in 26 states. As the nation continues to deal with a slowly improving economy, these governors have their work cut out for them. Area Development's editor recently asked the new governors what businesses in their states could expect regarding resources, regulatory changes, and tax and financial incentives.

Editor's Note: This article is part of Area Development's Governors' Agendas series, which allows governors elected to office in 2011 to outline their business and economic development plans. View interviews with all new governors at

What resources will your administration leverage in order to attract businesses to your state?
Daugaard: South Dakota will continue to leverage its business climate, solid work force, and access to government leaders. As Governor, I plan to be involved in all aspects of our economic development efforts.

Which particular industry sectors would be well served by your state's resources?
Daugaard: The bioscience, firearm, value-added agriculture, renewable energy, and computer/IT industries make a great deal of sense for South Dakota. These industries have been well researched on both the benefits for companies and to the state. That being said, we aren't going to be ruling anything out. There are other areas - such as aviation and financial services - that have sparked conversation. These will need to be analyzed further, but are definitely worth considering.

How will the state continue to serve its existing industry?
Daugaard: South Dakota continues to place a high priority on its Retention & Expansion program to better serve existing companies. By touching base with South Dakota companies, we are able to connect these companies with the resources that are available to them.

In today's economic environment, what is your administration's policy on financial incentives to business?
Daugaard: Our business climate and tax structure are two of our best financial incentives. That being said, South Dakota also offers an array of loan and grant programs for new, expanding, and relocating businesses. I'm planning to make these programs even more user-friendly. Streamlining the process involved in obtaining a loan will make things simpler for companies, which, in turn, will help us jumpstart South Dakota's economy.

Are there any changes to your state's tax and/or regulatory code that you are proposing in order to encourage business development?
Daugaard: As mentioned earlier, economic development is paramount to my administration. We are taking action on several fronts to expand our positive regulatory climate and better leverage resources for economic development efforts.

South Dakota is repurposing some of its underutilized resources to help bolster and recapitalize our economic development financing programs. Additionally, we are removing red tape from our large project tax refund mechanism to make it more user-friendly and to ensure the program is available for incentive packages.

South Dakota is already a top tier state for the trust banking industry, and we are reinforcing our industry leadership role by continually modernizing our trust laws.

We have legislation in place to provide more protection for our aviation product manufacturers, designers, assemblers, installers, and producers. And South Dakota has legislation that shows we are committed to supporting the visitor industry - one of South Dakota's largest industries.

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