Governor’s housing program causes concern

Governor's housing program causes concern By Glen Kane The South Dakota Home Builders Association is concerned with Gov. Bill Janklow's program to provide housing for senior homeowners who wish to sell their current home. The association feels that the governor has overlooked existing factors that can and will affect the people, commerce and tax revenue in South Dakota.

The governor's housing project uses prison labor to build homes and places those homes throughout South Dakota. The use of state resources, in the form of prison labor, is inappropriate and will adversely effect communities by reducing commerce and associated taxes.

When the program was initially introduced, Gov. Janklow stated that prisoner built homes of under 800 square feet would be placed in communities with less than 5,000 population. Since that time, homes have been placed in a number of larger communities throughout the state, including Sioux Falls, Rapid City and Watertown. The governor is now setting up production of approximately 1,200 square foot buildings.

The only requirement to purchase a prisoner built home is that the buyer be over 62 years old or over the age of 18 and disabled. Income and new worth limits for elderly citizens have never been requirement for qualification.

The South Dakota Home Builders Association is a leader in the drive to produce affordable housing. The home building industry in South Dakota has boosted commerce and job creation for decades. Private industry builders built 2,636 single family homes, totaling a net worth of over $250 million, in South Dakota last year.

The South Dakota Home Builders Association is a trade organization comprised of the Black Hills Home Builders Association, Home Builders Association of Sioux Falls, Watertown Home Builders Association, the Brookings Area Builders Association, as well as individual members throughout the state. The association includes not only builders but also over 800 businesses that represent suppliers, tradesmen and service industries. The association serves the membership and represents the building and remodeling industries, as well as advocates of affordable housing. Although SDHBA recognizes and commends Gov. Janklow for his attempt to provide meaningful training for prisoners, it is the position of the SDHBA that this use of taxpayer revenue undermines private industry, and hampers local businesses' ability to create affordable housing and should be discontinued.

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