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The shame of Minnesotans having to move to North Dakota

For the past few months I’ve been examining the upper Midwest state personal taxation policies and their possible effect on population movement. My original article “The great Minnesota exodus tax acts of 2013” available at indicates that North Dakota has no estate tax and that their individual income tax using an identical data example for all states was 73 percent lower than the Minnesota tax.

The next logical step was to check the out-migration population movement from Minnesota to its neighboring states. This had already been mostly done by the Center of the American Experiment in an April 2013 publication Minnesotans on the Move to Lower Tax States ( covering 20 states. I only had to go to the website to find the IRS AGI (adjusted gross income) tax data on their migration calculator for Minnesota-Wisconsin for the same 2005-10 period to match the Center’s study.

Carefully reviewing the data, I was stunned by what appeared. Minnesotans moving to North Dakota had the lowest average taxable income of the 21 states migrating populations. We Minnesotans pride ourselves that we’re above average. Yet, here we are at the bottom. What a shame.

Then I looked further and discovered that the Minnesotans whose average taxable income was three times that of those moving to North Dakota went to Florida. Whoa! What kind of income and wealth redistribution is this?

Add to this the complicating fact that nearly as many are coming back from North Dakota as were going. Is this a Minnesota idea of a migratory labor pool? What is wrong with the Minnesota economy that we do not provide decent-paying jobs for good people who will move to work? We, as a state, are blessed with the elements needed for an energetic, job- producing environment. Why isn’t our business and industry growing jobs?

One word. Incentives. Businesses need to be able to compete, thrive and make a profit. The business climate, the job climate is all about the political climate. A Legislature that looks at business as a piggy bank is not a job-producing Legislature. Business needs to be treated fairly and our actions must demonstrate that we are genuinely wanting to become a pro-growth state. Please let us create a state where we don’t pit one against another, where low earners can find better jobs and where those at the higher end don’t feel that they have little choice but to move out of state.

Bob Smith III

St.Paul, Minn.