Minnesota Minimum Wage Hike Is "Another Reason To Relocate To North Dakota"


Minnesota’s minimum wage hike might be great for business…in North Dakota. That’s what Jon Godfread told me when I asked him about it for this Watchdog article:

BISMARCK, N.D. — Minnesota lawmakers have agreed to a minimum wage increase that would require a pay hike for an estimated 350,000 residents. But how will the policy affect bordering states?

The Greater North Dakota Chamber of Commerce, which recently upset some Minnesota officials with cheeky “North Dakota Is Open For Business” billboards aimed at luring Minnesota businesses west across the border, says the state is poised to take advantage.

“This move by Minnesota again proves that the leadership in Minnesota looks at business as something to tax and regulate, where as in North Dakota we see business as something that is encouraged in our state, and is the life blood to our economy and our citizens prosperity,” Jon Godfread, the group’s vice president for Governmental Affairs, said in response to a request for comment. “I think in terms of businesses it shows another reason to relocate to North Dakota.”

Here’s what Minnesota is doing with their minimum wage:

  • Businesses with gross sales of more than $500,000 would see the minimum wage rise to $8 in 2014, $8.50 in 2015 and $9.50 in 2016.
  • Businesses with gross sales less than $500,000 would see the minimum wage rise to $6.50 in 2014, $7.25 in 2015 and $7.75 by 2016.
  • In 2018 the minimum wage begins increasing with inflation, with a cap at no more than 2.5 percent per year.
  • The governor would have the option to halt the yearly increase.

Some Minnesota officials were truly irate when the ND Chamber of Commerce started highlighting the eastern state’s higher taxes and stiffer regulations in making a case for businesses to move west. But, hey, the truth hurts.

In September of last  year I interviewed a business owner who had decided to move his headquarters across the Red River from Moorhead, MN, to Fargo, ND. He said Minnesota’s tax hikes made the lower cost of doing business in North Dakota too attractive to ignore.

And it seems citizens, too, are voting on the policies of the two states with their feet. In July of last year I did a comparison of the populations of Minnesota/North Dakota border communities and – surprise! – far more people live on the North Dakota side of those communities than the Minnesota side: