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Can't we all just get along? NoDak billboard campaign jabs at Minn. biz climate

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How dare they? North Dakota is taking potshots at Minnesota--and its lawmakers, and its business climate-- in a mocking billboard campaign hatched by the state's chamber of commerce.

In a move to coincide with Minnesota's legislative session ending, the billboards are meant to imply that Minnesota businesses should just up and go west, due to unfriendly business taxes, as the old saw goes.

The first billboard went up Thursday along Interstate 94 in Moorhead, a border city with Fargo, with a giant “North Dakota” on the top line and “Open for Business” on the bottom, the Duluth News Tribune Reports.

And it's got dwellers on both sides of the Red River Valley all hopped up like Jerry Lundegaard.

Moorhead City Council member Mark Hintermeyer told the Associated Press Friday he considers the message unproductive and confrontational, and wants the sign taken down immediately.

In a brilliant move of gamesmanship, North Dakota Chamber President Andy Peterson countered that his state's booming new-oil economy notwithstanding, one of the campaign's objectives is to help Minnesota improve its business environment.

Peterson further noted that some list or another ranks North Dakota 15th for a favorable business climate and Minnesota 40th.

Stuck in the middle, the AP reports, is Craig Whitney, president and CEO of a combined chamber of commerce for Fargo, West Fargo and Moorhead.

"We find this appalling," Whitney said Friday, according to the AP. "I pointed out to Andy (Peterson) the trouble that this is causing for frankly any of the border chambers. This is not the way to do business."

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