ND Campaign Touts That State’s Biz Climate, Mocks MN

The Greater North Dakota Chamber said it’s “making a strong case for business to come across the border,” and the campaign’s first billboard has drawn criticism from within Minnesota.

The Greater North Dakota Chamber has reportedly launched a campaign that promotes its business climate at Minnesota’s expense—and some local politicians are upset about it.
According to an Associated Press report, the campaign mocks proposals in the Minnesota Legislature, including bills that would raise certain taxes. And a chamber release said that the state’s politicians are “making a strong case for business to come across the border to North Dakota.”
The campaign’s first billboard appeared Thursday along Interstate 94 in Moorhead. The first line says “North Dakota” and the bottom line says “Open for Business.”
Moorhead City Council member Mark Hintermeyer told the Associated Press that, in addition to being unproductive and confrontational, the message could make local and state officials in Minnesota less likely to back a proposed Red River diversion project that would move water around Fargo and Moorhead when major flooding occurs. Hintermeyer reportedly wants the sign removed immediately.
Craig Whitney—president and CEO of a combined chamber of commerce for Fargo, West Fargo, and Moorhead—also wants the billboard taken down and told the Associated Press that the campaign is “appalling” and “not the way to do business.”
Meanwhile, Greater North Dakota Chamber President and CEO Andy Peterson told the news organization that part of what the campaign aims to do is help Minnesota improve its business climate, pointing out that a competitive states index ranks North Dakota 15th for favorable business climate while Minnesota is 40th.
A member of Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton’s staff declined to comment specifically on the North Dakota campaign but did reportedly say that a chamber release spoke too soon regarding some Minnesota tax proposals.
“There are no gas or alcohol tax increases in our final tax bill, nor were they ever a part of the governor’s tax proposal,” Dayton spokeswoman Katharine Tinucci said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. “The budget we expect the legislature to pass and the governor to sign in the next several days makes significant investments in education and job creation, that we know will help Minnesotan businesses grow, and the economy to continue to grow.”
News of the North Dakota campaign comes shortly after South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard visited the Mall of America to personally discuss career opportunities with potential transplants. From 1 to 2 p.m. on May 13, Daugaard was there visiting with shoppers, answering questions about career possibilities in the state, and encouraging Minnesotans to consider relocating to South Dakota. To read more about that trip, the first recruitment effort of its kind for South Dakota, click here.