Guest Post: Let Minnesota Serve As North Dakota's Cautionary Tale


As a returning, former resident of North Dakota I am watching with interest the North Dakota legislature with regard to the piles of money the oil boom has brought to the state and the ways in which those in elected office are spending said tax payer dollars.

The following is a cautionary tale to all North Dakota legislators, residents, and voters. It is a tale of neighboring states, with one looking towards a rosy future of prosperity and opportunity and the other looking forward to impediment and disincentive to produce.

Being a Minnesota resident for 32 years I have seen the state, well known for it’s work ethic and innovation, being reduced to a liberal utopia that only Karl Marx dreamed about.

There are many things that are happening during this legislative session in Minnesota. Let’s just start with the increase in taxes and fees being proposed by Gov. Dayton and the democrat controlled House and Senate. The tax plans coming from the three democrat held legislative branches hold a whole host of increased taxes for all income brackets, yes that includes the much lauded middle class and poor, as well as for anyone foolish enough to spend their hard earned money in the state. Here’s the actual bill.

I will also provide a link to the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota’s analysis of said bill, because reading taxation language is so interesting and without the statute books at your side it is next to impossible to decipher what taxes and fees are actually being imposed, raised, or otherwise changed. Thankfully the Freedom Foundation has done the heavy lifting here and highlights those taxes that will affect the citizens of MN.

The democrats propose raising a record $1.8 billion in taxes and fees, on everything from cigarettes to booze, clothing to haircuts. They are lowering the sales tax rate from 6.875% to 6% while increasing the number of items and services to be taxed, but any casual observer knows that once in place those rates are very easily raised at some point in the future. The democrats also lower the income brackets when the higher rates to kick in. Oh yeah, we are all “the rich” now.

Minnesotans, there are even seminars to help you determine if you want to remain a Minnesota resident and what to do to prepare for the coming avalanche.

It is a proven fact that capital and business will flow to places where they are appreciated and allowed to be profitable. The out-migration is set to begin. Since the November elections, when the democrats assumed control of all the legislative branches, companies are announcing plans to leave MN or lay off and with them go the extra tax revenue so touted by the liberals.

With all the talk of tax increases in Minnesota I have not even touched on the $2 billion plus in new spending.

With the pending economic disaster that is Minnesota tax and spend, or is it spend and tax policy, and North Dakota’s recent expansion of Medicaid I will offer this cautionary advice. Tread carefully North Dakota state government. Minnesota will be, nationwide, held up as the state with the policies to avoid in order to remain competitive in an already tight economy. As is seen in California and other liberal paradises the productive leave further increasing deficit spending by the state. Ultimately, the dependent class will follow and North Dakota will see themselves presented with the same set of circumstances that plague Minnesota. For if North Dakota doesn’t get their spending under control they will soon spend the oil boom money and be left in the same mess they were in during the last big government spending period in ND in the 1980’s under then Governor George Sinner.

The much maligned former Governor of Alaska warned, it is not courageous to cut spending during deficit years it takes real courage to cut government spending during times of surplus.