Rep. Jeff Magrum: Supporting Women Means Supporting Pro-Business Policies

This guest post was submitted by Rep. Jeff Magrum. He and his wife, Donna, have been small business owners for 33 years. Jeff currently represents North Dakota’s 28th Legislative District.

March was Women’s History Month, but there’s no limit on celebrating the successes of the women who make up our workforce.

Women are doing especially well in North Dakota, which was recently ranked among the top five “Best States for Women” by personal finance website WalletHub. The state received top marks for having the lowest female unemployment rates and fared well overall when it came to measures like earnings, job security, and women-owned businesses.

Our state didn’t magically become a great state for women. North Dakota instituted business-friendly policies, which make job creation more appealing here than in other parts of the country. Our smart business policies help women-owned businesses thrive every month of the year.

[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]Speaking of smart regulation, North Dakota has cut taxes five times since 2015, yielding some of the lowest income and corporate tax rates in the country. And after the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act came into play, the burden of an almost 40 percent federal marginal tax rate was lifted from the backs of the state’s most successful small business owners – a full 20,300 of which are owned by North Dakota’s women.[/mks_pullquote]

Consider the state’s energy sector. Whereas regulation-happy California closed its entire coastline to new drilling in 1994, North Dakota worked with oil industries to institute a sweeping reorganization of its oil tax code in 2015. The changes cut oil extraction taxes while removing a tax break “trigger” that made the previous tax system completely unpredictable.

With the Bakken boom came jobs. During its height, North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak applauded the “women who are engineers, who are out on fracking crews, who are geologists,” whom she encountered every day. These are high skill level jobs, and they’re dependent on smart regulatory policies (and, of course, smart extraction of natural resources).

Speaking of smart regulation, North Dakota has cut taxes five times since 2015, yielding some of the lowest income and corporate tax rates in the country. And after the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act came into play, the burden of an almost 40 percent federal marginal tax rate was lifted from the backs of the state’s most successful small business owners – a full 20,300 of which are owned by North Dakota’s women.

When our female business owners are left to capitalize on their talents, it’s clear that their successes speak for themselves.

There is Anita Fettig from Napoleon, who has owned and operated Fettig daycare for 30 years. Anita not only provides daycare for up to 45 children she provides preschool activities for the children. She is now caring for children of parents that she cared for when they were children. Twelve years ago she began another venture selling slightly used clothing and furniture through Nita’s Attic and Coffee House. Six years ago, she expanded to a second location in Jamestown. Anita currently employs 20 individuals in her various businesses.

Then there is Denette Jacob who was recently featured in Inspired Woman Magazine for her successful clothing store, Boutique 23, in Linton. Though Denette had intended to start small, running her business a couple days a week to keep busy, she recently made the bold move to open another Boutique 23 in Bismarck. It’s currently managed by her niece.

Lacy Woodrow and her family moved from the largest city in North Dakota back home to Napoleon to be closer to family and to follow her dream of owning a bakery. She renovated an existing building on state highway 34 that had a history going back as the White Maid Diner & Drive Thru. Now operating as Mabel’s Bakery & Coffee Shop, the cozy store serves some of the most delicious pastries on the planet and certainly lives up to its namesake. Lacy’s grandmother, Mabel, had a reputation as an excellent cook and baker.

And as for The White Maid? It’s now owned by Lacy’s sister and brother-in-law, who expanded the diner to a larger location on Main Street.

American Express made no exaggeration in its 2017 State of Women-Owned Business report when it called North Dakota a giant in terms of the growth rate of women-owned businesses. Our state ranked fourth behind Nevada, the District of Columbia, and South Dakota for revenue, expansion, and number of female-owned firms over the last twenty years.

As we look ahead, it’s important to support the pro-business policies which make jobs available and free up resources to allow female job creators to do what they do best.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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