When the DFL-controlled legislature started jacking up taxes, we tried to warn ’em. “North Dakota’s gonna eat Northwest Minnesota’s lunch”.
But did they listen?
Pffft. They know what “A Better Minnesota” means, peasant!
Oh, the left trotted out its talking heads. “It’s really fairly marginal”, said the heads, snug in their academic offices in the Twin Cities.
One of the Marginal Ones up in Moorhead has had enough:
When service station owner Brady Olson decided politicians weren’t listening to him, he took to the airwaves to protest higher taxes that he said were cutting into his profits.
“Hi, I’m Brady from Brady’s Service,” he said in a 30-second radio spot. “Minnesota has quietly been turning my business in to a tax collection business.”…Olson and other business owners in northwest Minnesota say those higher taxes make it difficult for them to compete with businesses in North Dakota, where the booming economy has allowed legislators to cut taxes.
To a talking head in the Twin Cities – who, likely, has never run a business or made a payroll – it’s just nickels here, dimes there.
But nickels and dimes add up:
With Minnesota legislators recently deciding to increase cigarette taxes by $1.60 a pack, Olson said, “Now they’re in the well again.”
Olson was particularly critical of the higher cigarette tax, which on July 1 will be $2.83 a pack. North Dakota’s cigarette tax is 44 cents a pack.
As a result, Olson expects to lose a few customers. He said people who buy cigarettes in Fargo will likely buy gas there.
And the bottom line?:
Olson said every tax increase makes it tougher for his family-owned business to compete with convenience stores a mile or two away in Fargo. He pointed to gasoline as a key example of taxes that make his profit margin smaller than that of a North Dakota business.
I did mention the academics, didn’t I?
As Minnesota lawmakers struggle to pay for essential services while allowing companies to remain competitive with those in nearby low-tax states, a big question is whether such tax disparities can kill a business.
There’s not much evidence to support that, said David Flynn, an economist at the University of North Dakota.
“When it makes a difference, they move or they change their business tactic,” said Flynn, who has studied the border business climate. “When it doesn’t make a difference they complain, but we don’t see a noticeable change, a business shuttering the windows or anything of that sort.”
Flynn said taxes are generally not the key factor in where business locates. As an example, he cited Minnesota’s lack of a sales tax on clothing. Although North Dakota taxes clothing purchases, there are more clothing stores on the North Dakota side of the border.
And there’s the point that everyone (on the left) misses, always.
There’s more of everything on the North Dakota side. Moorhead, Breckenridge and East Grand Forks are pale, wan little bedroom towns across the river from Fargo, Wahpeton and Grand Forks (respectively) that are booming, and have always far outstripped their Minnesota neighbors in employment, in business growth, in everything.
In short, the point isn’t that the border doesn’t reflect the disparities today over taxes discussed last month; it reflects decades of different approaches to taxes and regulation, which the current session will exacerbate.
Read the whole thing – it’s from MPR’s Moorhead correspondent, and it does a decent job of stringing together the story, including the non-sequiturs from the apologists for the Minnesota system.