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Fred Lundstrom, Published May 02 2014

Letter: Attitudes in Minnesota stifle business and jobs

In response to the April 18 commentary by Lee Purrier (“Lakes country pipeline should worry eastern ND”):

Having had a dental practice in Fargo for more than 40 years, I was pleased that he was positive about what is happening in North Dakota in general and Fargo specifically. I was proud to be a North Dakota resident and love the state.

I believe Purrier was appealing for North Dakotans to take a look at what Minnesota has to offer that North Dakota is missing. He rightly stated that God has blessed Minnesota with an abundance of lakes and forests.

When we retired, we made our cabin on Lake Belle Taine our home. We love lakes, and there is no such lake as Lake Belle Taine in North Dakota that I am aware of. We love it here in Minnesota and enjoy this area and its people. I was glad to see Purrier promoting this area, which includes Detroit Lakes, Park Rapids, Bemidji and Brainerd, as a great place to live.

When he tried to promote Minnesota as a place to start a business (especially to North Dakotans), the going got tougher. Purrier inadvertently gives us a perfect example of the mindset of Minnesota government versus North Dakota government when he states, “The recent surge in economic development in North Dakota due to the Bakken oil boom has seen energetic growth in the Fargo-Moorhead area.”

North Dakota encourages ventures that assist growth and development for its residents. He mentions the Sandpiper pipeline that he feels could cause “environmental damage to this pristine area could have severe and unpredictable long-term effects on tourism and residency.”

Pipeline issues such as Sandpiper, Keystone XL, or others are rarely decided by science. If your government, state or federal, is in the environmental camp that hates fossil fuels, these can be delayed indefinitely. With those delays, go many well-paying jobs.

Also, Fargo is not growing because of the Bakken oil boom. Its leaders, long before Bakken, put in place incentives to expand its industrial and technology base. Look up the April 22 Forum editorial, “Uff da, Fargo’s ‘killing it’” to see what I base this on.

Perhaps someday Minnesota will elect people who understand what allows business to succeed. High taxes (Minnesota is ranked fifth- or sixth-highest in taxes for individuals in the country), suffocating regulations and business taxes (Minnesota is the worst in the country for small-business development) and environmental fanaticism do not attract or encourage business. When Minnesota’s elected officials finally understand this, we won’t need minimum-wage mandates. The competition for workers will drive wages upward.

As the movie “Field of Dreams” states, “If you build it, they will come!” Build a pro-business state and this area will get new business and the good jobs we so desperately need.

Lundstrom lives near Nevis, Minn.