A bit of a kerfuffle has erupted between Minnesota and North Dakota over the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce running billboards touting the western state’s lighter touch when it comes to taxes and regulations. At least one Minnesota Official, a Moorhead city council member, reacted with anger and threatened support for flood diversion from his side of the Red River.
According to the Bismarck Tribune today, arguing that “mocking your neighbor on his property looks childish,” the North Dakota Chamber ought to take down the billboards and apologize to Minnesota.
What utter bunk. What’s childish is the way some Minnesotans have reacted. Plus, an apology at this point would undermine one of the features of American governance that makes this country so great.
Far from scolding states for actively competing with one another, we should encourage it. North Dakota has a better tax and regulatory environment for businesses and individual citizens, as evidenced by the much larger populations living on the western side of the Minnesota/North Dakota border communities. Not only is advertising that fact what’s best for North Dakota, it’s what’s best for Minnesota too. Because the best way to convince Minnesota to change is to make their high-tax, big-government policies hurt by luring taxpayers and businesses away from them.
In the economy, competition among businesses produce the best results from consumers as each business tries to find advantages in quality, service and/or prices. The same is true of states.
When the states compete, we win. So let’s hope for more of the same from the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce. If Minnesota doesn’t like it, let them change their policies.