Study shows wide income gap in South Dakota - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Study shows wide income gap between rich and poor in South Dakota

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The income gap in South Dakota has grown faster than in almost any other state.

The study is almost an illustration of the old proverb 'rich get richer, poor get poorer.'

As we head into the holiday season, many of us are thinking about budgeting and stretching our dollars.

We spoke with one woman who tells us it almost becomes a game.

Jessica Cain said "most people always want to get ahead and right now, I'm at the point where I just want to hit zero. If I could start at a zero level, we'd be fine but we're just trying to get out of the hole and reach zero."

Cain recently moved to Sioux Falls from Minnesota. She saw her income drop when she crossed state lines.

"I work at an actual, decent establishment here now, where I do customer service and sales all day long and it's a two-and-a-half dollar an-hour pay cut," Cain said.

Cain has a strategy to make ends meet.

"See what bill I can stretch to the next one or call the electric company and say I can do $50 this month or this week and wait until you get the disconnect notice for one thing. Ok, I can pay this right now, so it doesn't get disconnected. Then put off another one," Cain said.

Cain says she lost her daycare assistance since she got married recently.

"I can show them we make this much money, but these are the house payment, the vehicle insurance and all that, and it doesn't matter. If you make even a dollar over a certain amount, you don't get any help, whatsoever," Cain said.

Joy Smolnisky, director of South Dakota Budget and Policy with the non-profit group, South Dakota Voices for Children, says her organization asks questions to change policies and help families.

"Are there people in South Dakota who's incomes don't cover the basic necessities where they live. that question is important because that helps us understand which households are really struggling to make ends meet," Smolnisky said.

Smolnisky says her organization researches information so we as a state can ask questions to help people move forward.

The study shows only Mississippi with a larger poverty gap than South Dakota.

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