Larry "Statehood for Mexico!" Kurtz will love this.
The Bakken oil boom is putting a two-billion-dollar surplus in North Dakota's state coffers. Our northerly neighbor runs on a two-year budget, so that's a billion dollars a year. A billion dollars would cover 80% of South Dakota's state general fund.
Our Governor, legislators, and lots of my West River neighbors are hoping that Bakken oil with seep south and enrich our state. But you know, if we really want a slurp of that shale-oil milkshake, why wait? Why not rejoin North Dakota to reconstitute Dakota Territory?
It's not secession. Recession? Decession?
Dakota Territory would have been one big happy state if Republicans hadn't seen a chance to smack Democrats for their recalcitrance in granting us statehood and double the number of GOP Senators this territory would send to Washington. Today's Dakota Republicans might relish the chance to have Republican Senators John Thune and John Hoeven square off against Democrats Tim Johnson and Kent Conrad. They'd have a chance to counter North Dakota's socialist-leaning electorate with South Dakota's larger corps of conservatives. And they'd have a chance to eliminate one entire state government! Dakota Territory could be a conservative's dream.
With a combined population of 1.5 million, New Dakota would replace Hawaii as the 40th most populous state. (Iowa would still be 30th, at 3.1 million; Minnesota would still be 21st, at 5.3 million.) With a combined area of 148,000 square miles, we'd jump over Nebraska, Minnesota, and Iowa and replace Montana as the fourth largest state in the Union.
So what do you say, North Dakota? Share the wealth? We can do this the nice way, with a joint committee and negotiations. Or Denny can put on his National Guard jacket and South Dakota can just conquer North Dakota. Ellsworth vs. Minot, SD Guards vs. ND Guards: who'd win that one?
Related Update 09:35 CDT: In a report issued last week, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranks North Dakota as the biggest future boom state. South Dakota makes #9 on the list of future boom states.