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LETTER: Why Minnesota Steady beats North Dakota Stop-and-Go

For a good portion of my work life in East Grand Forks, I had coworkers who lived in both North Dakota and Minnesota, about an equal mix. The North Dakota residents would razz us Minnesotans about living in a high tax state with respect to proper...

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For a good portion of my work life in East Grand Forks, I had coworkers who lived in both North Dakota and Minnesota, about an equal mix. The North Dakota residents would razz us Minnesotans about living in a high tax state with respect to property and income.

It's true that those taxes are indeed higher in Minnesota. My response to them usually was, "True, but we have 'stuff' in Minnesota."

The economy in North Dakota basically revolves around two factors-ag and oil. Right now, both are in a downturn, which is reflected in the economic forecast for the state. The governor already has asked state-supported entities to cut their budgets, and late last week, he mentioned more cuts were looming.

Already, most North Dakota state and local government workers make less than their counterparts in Minnesota; this includes police officers as well as teachers from kindergarten through the university system. In fact, public school teachers in North Dakota are ranked near-last in pay in the United States.

In my past career area-services for the elderly and those with disabilities, to include mental health-services in North Dakota are much less than those east of the river. And now, more cuts are looming?

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I don't think the upset in the recent Republican primary for governor was based entirely on the personalities of the candidates. I think it was a message to the party in total control of state government that there needs to be a rethinking of the status quo of doing state business.

Do I like writing checks for my property and state income taxes in Minnesota? Not really. But I can afford them, and I'm reminded that "we do have stuff."

John Johnson

Warren, Minn.

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