Minnesota Economist: South Dakota is winning the Border Battle

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota is winning the border battle with Minnesota– that’s according to a recently released economic report by a Minnesota policy group.

“The report is brand new, we’re just taking it out on the road now,” The American Experiment’s Economist John Phelan said. 

Phelan put together the Border Battle report comparing Minnesota’s economic policies to those of surrounding states along with population data.

“Compare border areas of Minnesota counties to the South Dakota counties so we can get clearer idea exactly what impact state policy has,” Phelan said. 

The report revealed a big trend in population in counties along the Minnesota/South Dakota state line over the past eight years.

“The population on the Minnesota border counties has shrunk, whereas the population on the South Dakota border counties is growing very rapidly,” Phelan said. “Even the rural counties are doing better in South Dakota than in Minnesota.”

Phelan attributes the change in population to the economic policies in each state.

“People tend to move for opportunity. So people will go where they think the opportunities are better. Looking at thriving businesses, where the jobs are growing, that tends to be where they will go. What environment fosters that? It tends to be lower taxes,” Phelan said. 

The economist says South Dakota’s no income or corporate tax levy creates more opportunities for business and personal finance growth, which can impact the population.

“Minnesota does worse against South Dakota than any other state,” Phelan said. 

“I guess being from Minnesota compared to South Dakota it’s a little discouraging,” Luverne, Minn. resident Greg Thone said.

Thone came to Sioux Falls to hear the Border Battle presentation Friday; he says some of it resonates with him, but he believes the population problem isn’t urgent.

“I haven’t seen the population of Luverne itself change radically in my 70 years, so I don’t know that it’s that big of difference, other than they do have more jobs in South Dakota now than they did when I was younger,” Thone said. 

The American Experiment is presenting their new report in cities all along the Minnesota border over the next few weeks. 

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