"Appalling" NoDak billboard takes shot at MN's business climate on MN soil [IMAGE]
The subtext: North Dakota is more "open for business" than tax-crazy Minnesota.
A billboard recently erected in Moorhead has left some Chamber of Commerce officials with bunched panties.
The plain-looking billboard (visible above), bought and paid for by the Greater North Dakota Chamber of Commerce, simply says, "North Dakota: Open for Business." Indeed, a recent study looking at the tax policies in each state found that NoDak has the 15th-most favorable business environment, while Minnesota's is 40th.
But while there may be some merit to the campaign's message, the fact that leaders of NoDak's business community would resort to taking a shot at Minnesota -- especially on a billboard on Minnesota soil -- has some regional business officials crying foul.
Craig Whitney, president and CEO of a combined Chamber of Commerce for Fargo, West Fargo, and Moorhead, says the billboard's message is unconstructive and wants it taken down immediately.
"We find this appalling," Whitney told the AP. "This is not the way to do business."
But the mastermind behind the North Dakota Chamber's message, former Duluth Chamber official Andy Peterson, says he has no regrets about the billboard and doesn't plan to take it down.
"As much as the Fargo and Moorhead people think this is about them, it is not about them. It has nothing to do with them," Peterson told the AP. "It's about what's happening in Minnesota that continues to suck the air out of the room."
In related news, a month after the Minnesota Senate approved a $1.8 billion tax hike, the Minnesota House passed a similar bill over the weekend. While some Democrats argue the tax increase will actually boost the economy by increasing the state's investment in public education and helping to pay for projects like a Mayo Clinic expansion, it certainly won't do anything to improve Minnesota's business-friendliness ranking in the short term, whatever that's worth.
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