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Dakota Roots Recruits Minnesotans with Incomplete Tax-Paycheck Story

Legislator turned Tower Erector lobbyist Todd Schlekeway stops by the Mall of America to get his picture taken at South Dakota's famous marketing kiosk:

Todd Schlekeway at Dakota Roots kiosk, Mall of America, 2013.06.01, from Twitter
Todd Schlekeway at Dakota Roots kiosk, Mall of America, 2013.06.01, from Twitter

"No Personal Income Tax Means YOU KEEP 7% MORE* of Your Paycheck," reads the kiosk sign behind Schlekeway. I can't quite make out the asterisked footnote, but it appears to say that 7% is based on the state income tax rate for a single middle-income Minnesotan.

Now for the dagger: move from Minnesota, and your paycheck will likely be 25% smaller. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, in 2012 Q3, the average weekly wage in Minnesota was $915, the 15th highest in the nation. The average weekly wage in South Dakota was $683, 50th in the nation, lower than anywhere else but Mississippi. Even after paying 7% to St. Paul, the average Minnesota wage earner has $851 in her pocket for lefse and Twins tickets, 20% more than she would working in South Dakota.

We can pound these figures out on various cost-of-living anvils. This morning, let's compare that BLS data with MIT estimates of the "living wage" in each state. MIT says "living wage" is " a minimum estimate of the cost of living for low wage families. The estimates do not reflect a middle class standard of living." Based on different costs of food, child care, housing, and other regular expenses, how much cushion does an average-wage earner have in each state?

State Living Wage-MIT
hourly wage
(BLS 2012 Q3)
1 adult 1 adult,
1 child
1 adult
2 children
2 adults 2 adults
1 child
2 adults
2 children
Alabama $19.60 8.51 17.35 22.58 13.64 16.61 18.04
Alaska $24.03 9.37 19.63 23.69 14.60 18.00 19.32
Arizona $21.15 9.00 19.62 25.20 14.27 17.95 19.33
Arkansas $17.70 7.86 16.37 20.80 12.80 16.03 17.44
California $25.90 11.20 22.70 26.33 16.73 20.80 22.15
Colorado $23.40 9.07 20.56 25.28 14.17 17.88 19.29
Connecticut $27.18 10.68 23.53 28.24 16.32 20.07 21.47
Delaware $23.13 10.42 21.04 25.66 15.83 19.44 20.85
DC $37.85 13.67 26.35 32.95 19.73 23.51 24.92
Florida $20.00 10.12 20.68 24.83 15.57 19.21 20.54
Georgia $21.35 9.23 18.05 21.66 14.20 17.16 18.55
Hawaii $20.68 12.51 25.09 31.42 18.88 22.76 24.10
Idaho $17.18 8.09 17.32 22.25 13.04 16.34 17.74
Illinois $23.63 9.66 19.96 24.60 14.96 18.07 19.44
Indiana $19.30 8.44 17.40 22.17 13.50 16.51 17.91
Iowa $18.90 8.18 18.70 24.31 13.48 16.93 18.39
Kansas $19.03 8.45 18.00 22.17 13.49 16.77 18.21
Kentucky $18.78 7.91 16.79 21.09 12.82 15.77 17.18
Louisiana $20.13 9.26 18.06 21.68 14.36 17.57 18.99
Maine $18.05 8.94 20.59 25.08 14.28 17.88 19.32
Maryland $25.18 11.79 23.41 28.23 17.44 21.04 22.41
Massachusetts $27.55 11.31 24.84 31.74 16.24 19.90 21.31
Michigan $21.55 8.73 18.33 22.34 13.60 16.62 18.03
Minnesota $22.88 9.11 19.81 25.25 14.54 17.83 19.28
Mississippi $16.80 8.45 16.88 21.08 13.65 16.86 18.28
Missouri $19.83 8.17 16.84 21.25 13.11 16.05 17.42
Montana $17.23 7.65 17.14 22.32 12.47 15.30 16.68
Nebraska $18.55 8.23 17.74 23.18 13.09 16.42 17.81
Nevada $20.50 9.39 20.45 24.61 14.54 17.98 19.31
New Hampshire $21.85 9.68 21.29 27.01 15.00 18.74 20.15
New Jersey $26.33 11.13 22.01 26.93 16.04 19.82 21.17
New Mexico $19.03 8.25 17.78 22.13 13.25 16.47 17.86
New York $27.20 11.50 23.58 31.20 16.48 19.83 21.23
North Carolina $20.15 9.12 18.92 23.64 14.34 17.51 18.99
North Dakota $21.80 7.37 16.59 21.19 12.40 15.24 16.62
Ohio $20.70 7.96 17.28 22.12 12.86 15.92 17.27
Oklahoma $19.48 7.98 16.74 21.40 13.05 15.90 17.28
Oregon $20.85 8.87 19.07 23.79 14.58 17.84 19.29
Pennsylvania $22.48 8.67 17.76 22.87 13.30 16.36 17.75
Rhode Island $21.38 9.93 20.79 26.59 14.70 17.77 19.17
South Carolina $18.45 8.72 16.98 20.45 13.79 16.65 18.06
South Dakota $17.08 7.44 16.23 20.14 12.46 15.41 16.75
Tennessee $20.35 8.84 17.43 21.12 14.12 17.10 18.57
Texas $23.25 8.76 18.41 22.34 13.96 17.35 18.70
Utah $19.15 8.95 18.08 22.34 13.76 17.13 18.54
Vermont $19.08 9.13 19.08 23.46 14.03 17.06 18.45
Virginia $24.00 10.54 20.77 25.77 15.96 19.49 20.88
Washington $25.60 8.77 19.49 23.73 13.89 17.28 18.61
West Virginia $18.10 8.01 16.81 20.89 12.99 15.82 17.26
Wisconsin $19.25 8.87 19.95 26.64 14.24 17.31 18.74
Wyoming $20.70 7.97 17.23 20.89 12.67 15.58 16.93

By MIT's count, in Minnesota, a single person with no kids can pay the bills on $9.11 an hour. In South Dakota, it only takes $7.44. Scale up to two-adult, two-child household, and in Minnesota, one wage earner needs to make $19.28, while in South Dakota, one wage earner feeds the family for $16.75. So if your income stays the same, your paycheck goes further in South Dakota.

But your paycheck doesn't stay the same. The average hourly wage drops from $22.88 in Minnesota to $17.08 in South Dakota.

To put those numbers in perspective, let's look at the same data, but with the ratio of the average wage to the living wage. A 1.00 in this chart means the state's average wage pays the basic bills but leaves no cushion for unexpected expenses. Numbers greater than 1 mean you've got cushion; numbers less than 1 mean you're not making ends meet.

State Average Wage/Living Wage
1A 1A1C 1A2C 2A 2A1C 2A2C
Alabama 2.30 1.13 0.87 1.44 1.18 1.09
Alaska 2.56 1.22 1.01 1.65 1.33 1.24
Arizona 2.35 1.08 0.84 1.48 1.18 1.09
Arkansas 2.25 1.08 0.85 1.38 1.10 1.01
California 2.31 1.14 0.98 1.55 1.25 1.17
Colorado 2.58 1.14 0.93 1.65 1.31 1.21
Connecticut 2.54 1.15 0.96 1.67 1.35 1.27
Delaware 2.22 1.10 0.90 1.46 1.19 1.11
DC 2.77 1.44 1.15 1.92 1.61 1.52
Florida 1.98 0.97 0.81 1.28 1.04 0.97
Georgia 2.31 1.18 0.99 1.50 1.24 1.15
Hawaii 1.65 0.82 0.66 1.10 0.91 0.86
Idaho 2.12 0.99 0.77 1.32 1.05 0.97
Illinois 2.45 1.18 0.96 1.58 1.31 1.22
Indiana 2.29 1.11 0.87 1.43 1.17 1.08
Iowa 2.31 1.01 0.78 1.40 1.12 1.03
Kansas 2.25 1.06 0.86 1.41 1.13 1.04
Kentucky 2.37 1.12 0.89 1.46 1.19 1.09
Louisiana 2.17 1.11 0.93 1.40 1.15 1.06
Maine 2.02 0.88 0.72 1.26 1.01 0.93
Maryland 2.14 1.08 0.89 1.44 1.20 1.12
Massachusetts 2.44 1.11 0.87 1.70 1.38 1.29
Michigan 2.47 1.18 0.96 1.58 1.30 1.20
Minnesota 2.51 1.15 0.91 1.57 1.28 1.19
Mississippi 1.99 1.00 0.80 1.23 1.00 0.92
Missouri 2.43 1.18 0.93 1.51 1.24 1.14
Montana 2.25 1.00 0.77 1.38 1.13 1.03
Nebraska 2.25 1.05 0.80 1.42 1.13 1.04
Nevada 2.18 1.00 0.83 1.41 1.14 1.06
New Hampshire 2.26 1.03 0.81 1.46 1.17 1.08
New Jersey 2.37 1.20 0.98 1.64 1.33 1.24
New Mexico 2.31 1.07 0.86 1.44 1.16 1.07
New York 2.37 1.15 0.87 1.65 1.37 1.28
North Carolina 2.21 1.07 0.85 1.41 1.15 1.06
North Dakota 2.96 1.31 1.03 1.76 1.43 1.31
Ohio 2.60 1.20 0.94 1.61 1.30 1.20
Oklahoma 2.44 1.16 0.91 1.49 1.22 1.13
Oregon 2.35 1.09 0.88 1.43 1.17 1.08
Pennsylvania 2.59 1.27 0.98 1.69 1.37 1.27
Rhode Island 2.15 1.03 0.80 1.45 1.20 1.12
South Carolina 2.12 1.09 0.90 1.34 1.11 1.02
South Dakota 2.30 1.05 0.85 1.37 1.11 1.02
Tennessee 2.30 1.17 0.96 1.44 1.19 1.10
Texas 2.65 1.26 1.04 1.67 1.34 1.24
Utah 2.14 1.06 0.86 1.39 1.12 1.03
Vermont 2.09 1.00 0.81 1.36 1.12 1.03
Virginia 2.28 1.16 0.93 1.50 1.23 1.15
Washington 2.92 1.31 1.08 1.84 1.48 1.38
West Virginia 2.26 1.08 0.87 1.39 1.14 1.05
Wisconsin 2.17 0.96 0.72 1.35 1.11 1.03
Wyoming 2.60 1.20 0.99 1.63 1.33 1.22

Workers come out with a cushion in most places, except for single parents raising two kids. In Minnesota, that cushion is bigger than in South Dakota in each category. For the two-adult, two-child household, one Minnesota wage earner can bring home a 19% cushion; the same wage earner in the same size household in South Dakota brings home a 2% cushion. Single parents making the average wage and caring for two kids are hurting in both states, but in South Dakota, they are 15% behind the living wage, while in Minnesota they are only 9% behind.

Finally, let's rank those ratios: which states give the average-wage earner the biggest cushion proportional to the living wage?

State Average/Living Wage Rank
1A 1A1C 1A2C 2A 2A1C 2A2C
Alabama 26 22 29 29 27 28
Alaska 9 6 5 10 9 8
Arizona 21 31 38 22 28 26
Arkansas 34 30 36 41 46 46
California 23 20 8 17 17 17
Colorado 8 21 19 8 12 13
Connecticut 10 17 13 7 7 7
Delaware 37 27 23 24 26 24
DC 3 1 1 1 1 1
Florida 50 48 42 48 48 47
Georgia 22 11 7 20 18 18
Hawaii 51 51 51 51 51 51
Idaho 45 47 47 47 47 48
Illinois 13 10 14 15 13 12
Indiana 29 25 28 32 29 31
Iowa 24 42 46 37 42 42
Kansas 36 37 33 34 37 37
Kentucky 17 23 25 23 24 27
Louisiana 40 24 18 38 34 35
Maine 48 50 50 49 49 49
Maryland 44 33 24 27 23 22
Massachusetts 15 26 30 4 4 4
Michigan 12 13 11 14 15 15
Minnesota 11 18 21 16 16 16
Mississippi 49 46 45 50 50 50
Missouri 16 12 16 18 19 20
Montana 35 43 48 42 39 41
Nebraska 33 39 44 33 38 38
Nevada 39 44 39 35 36 33
New Hampshire 32 41 41 25 31 29
New Jersey 18 9 10 11 11 9
New Mexico 25 34 32 30 32 32
New York 19 19 27 9 6 5
North Carolina 38 35 35 36 33 34
North Dakota 1 2 4 3 3 3
Ohio 5 8 15 13 14 14
Oklahoma 14 15 20 21 21 21
Oregon 20 28 26 31 30 30
Pennsylvania 7 4 9 5 5 6
Rhode Island 42 40 43 26 22 23
South Carolina 46 29 22 46 44 44
South Dakota 28 38 37 43 45 45
Tennessee 27 14 12 28 25 25
Texas 4 5 3 6 8 10
Utah 43 36 34 40 41 40
Vermont 47 45 40 44 40 39
Virginia 30 16 17 19 20 19
Washington 2 3 2 2 2 2
West Virginia 31 32 31 39 35 36
Wisconsin 41 49 49 45 43 43
Wyoming 6 7 6 12 10 11

Notice that South Dakota's best ranking is for single workers with no kids, who get the 28th best average wage/living wage cushion. Start adding mouths to feed, and South Dakota sinks. Get married, raise kids, and South Dakota's low wages put you in the bottom ten for the cushion you'll earn on an average wage. For married folks with 0, 1, or 2 children, Minnesota's average wage offers the 16th-best cushion in the nation.

To cap it off, here are MIT's estimates of the typical wages in 22 job fields in Minnesota and South Dakota, plus my calculated differential between the two:

Occupational Area Typical Hourly Wage in Minnesota Typical Hourly Wage in South Dakota Pay cut moving from MN to SD
Management $44.88 $35.80 -20%
Business and Financial Operations $27.64 $23.70 -14%
Computer and Mathematical $35.50 $24.45 -31%
Architecture and Engineering $31.65 $25.57 -19%
Life, Physical and Social Science $27.90 $20.97 -25%
Community and Social Services $18.47 $16.52 -11%
Legal $35.79 $25.37 -29%
Education, Training and Library $20.59 $17.12 -17%
Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports and Media $20.69 $14.54 -30%
Healthcare Practitioner and Technical $30.43 $22.88 -25%
Healthcare Support $12.42 $11.27 -9%
Protective Service $18.08 $15.84 -12%
Food Preparation and Serving Related $9.16 $8.69 -5%
Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance $11.57 $10.10 -13%
Personal Care and Services $10.84 $9.88 -9%
Sales and Related $12.08 $10.87 -10%
Office and Administrative Support $15.92 $12.18 -23%
Farming, Fishing and Forestry $12.46 $11.91 -4%
Construction and Extraction $23.80 $14.83 -38%
Installation, Maintenance and Repair $20.67 $17.21 -17%
Production $15.74 $13.51 -14%
Transportation and Material Moving $14.53 $12.43 -14%

I'll be happy to see all sorts of Minnesotans move to South Dakota to boost our economy. But it's not right to bring them here under false pretenses. Minnesota has higher taxes. Minnesota also offers better wages in 22 major job categories. On average, those higher Minnesota wages give you a bigger cushion for unexpected expenses or that new fishing boat than will South Dakota's wages.

Minnesota friends, if you want to move to South Dakota, Todd and I welcome you. But you'll have to find reasons other than money to do so.


  1. Michael Black 2013.06.02

    Cory, according to your info, SD make an average of $17+ an hour. Just where are these jobs?

  2. David Newquist 2013.06.02

    Another thing that sign misleads about is where one will pay taxes in other areas to make up for the absence of an income tax. Minnesota does not apply a sales tax to food for home consumption; South Dakota does, meaning that the subsistence wages in South Dakota are further diminished by taxes on necessities.

    However, if anyone is unalert (yes, a euphemism) or gullible enough to believe that sign, that person is just the kind of person to make up the ideal South Dakota workforce. The message: Move to South Dakota, and you can leave your mind behind.

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.06.02

    Michael, evidently not in Lake County. ;-) Remember, we're talking average wage, not median wage. According to another BLS dataset from May 2012, South Dakota's median wage (half of workers earn less than that, half earn more) is 20% less than the average wage. That means that significantly more than half of South Dakota jobs pay less than that average wage, and that a small number of really high-paying jobs skew that average upward. The same is true in Minnesota and even more so nationwide.

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.06.02

    David, you make a good point about our food tax eating up some of that 7% savings on income tax. But note that the MIT Living Wage pages itemize cost categories. They say that the typical Minnesota worker moving to South Dakota will pay 50% less in taxes. There is a plus on the tax line of the ledger, but it doesn't make up for low wages... not to mention worse roads and bridges and other lagging public goods.

  5. Roger Elgersma 2013.06.02

    Those presidents are deader than a rock. At least the rocks do not decay. When the best thing we have is man made, then we do not have the best of scenery. But we do have the badlands which are beautiful in their own dry dead sort of way. Even the rocks have color.

  6. Roger Elgersma 2013.06.02

    Telling people with Minnesota roots that South Dakota has roots also. Now that is wasting tax money.

  7. John 2013.06.02

    Thanks for the hard numbers and analysis. Having been in 45 states, lived in 8 it is a lie that it's less expensive to live in South Dakota. Only real estate and its taxes tend to be less expensive while virtually everything else is more expensive in SD than elsewhere. The reason is, in addition to the sales tax, we pay an invisible "transportation tax" to ship everything in. We don't produce even the food we eat and "agriculture" is supposed to be our top industry - so we pay to ship the raw material out, then pay again to ship the processed product back.

    Today's Argus editorial cries that South Dakota needs workers . . . the answer is simple, practiced in the Bakken; PAY THEM and they will come.

  8. Winston 2013.06.02

    This blog piece is a precise indictment of the South Dakota jobs story and its myths, well done! Now, if only the mainstream media in SD would only do the same.

    But I do have one suggestion, any chance we can send those "scary" Presidential mascots up to that SD kiosk at the Mall of America to better inform Minnesotans about the "scary truth" behind the real jobs story in SD?

  9. Douglas Wiken 2013.06.02

    The SD stony mascots should be wearing barrels.

  10. MC 2013.06.02

    It is all about the money with you isn't it?

    There are some things here that money can't buy.

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.06.02

    MC, if I were all about the money, I wouldn't have spent all this time teaching in South Dakota. Look at the photo: South Dakota's chosen marketing message is all about the money. If the state wants to make an honest argument, it will say exactly what you said and drop the deceptive paycheck arguments.

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.06.02

    Of course, while I don't think money is everything, the majority of workers appear to, and that, as John duly notes, is why the Bakken is booming.

  13. Donald Pay 2013.06.02

    In the early 90s the Litchfield's came to Rapid City to set up a small defense industry manufacturing firm. Since Litchfield had worked for Raytheon in California, the business community was all freaked out that this new firm intended to pay people a "California" wage. Litchfield related how he was visited and advised not to pay people above the going wage in Rapid City, and he got the impression that if he did pay a high wage he would have problems getting zoning clearance, etc. What South Dakota companies apparently fear more than anything is having to compete for workers based on pay. Anyway, Litchfield advertised his job openings with a "South Dakota" wage, but paid ample bonuses.

    That fear of competing has really kept South Dakota from developing.

  14. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.06.02

    Roger, too bad we don't have housing or jobs in the Badlands. That scenery could draw some people. Maybe we should buy Scenic back from the Iglesia ni Cristo and build a new city... with California wages. Donald! Holy cow! Are any of the folks who "visited and advised" Litchfield still in power... or is this just the hereditary crony Mafia that rules the state? How do we break power like that that forces every new entrant in the marketplace to bow before the powers that be?

  15. Stan Gibilisco 2013.06.02

    "But your paycheck doesn't stay the same. The average hourly wage drops from $22.88 in Minnesota to $17.08 in South Dakota."

    Mine does.

    My paycheck stays the same whether I live in South Dakota or South Africa, Minnesota or Moldova.

    Of course I am not "average."

    Maybe South Dakota should try to recruit more people like me, more lone eagles, more freelancers ...

    But I do realize that a lot more than money goes into the calculus here.

    Most writers would probably prefer a big, culturally rich and diverse city like New York, Boston, San Francisco or Minneapolis to the rural, rather provincial environment of South Dakota.

    But I am not most writers ...

    ... if they socked me with a 7-percent income tax here in South Dakota tomorrow, I would be gone the day after tomorrow, probably to Wyoming.

    Would ya miss me?

    Don't answer that.

  16. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.06.02

    Interesting, Stan: you escape the coerced wage depression of which Donald speaks. Can we build an economic development model on workers who import wages from out-state employers? Can we build an effective community from lone wolves and freelancers?

    Note, Stan, that MIT says the living wage in Wyoming is 7% higher than here in South Dakota. Move 30 miles west to Buckhorn to escape a 7% income tax, and you may find the move a financial wash.

  17. Bill Dithmer 2013.06.02

    "Roger, too bad we don't have housing or jobs in the Badlands. That scenery could draw some people. Maybe we should buy Scenic back from the Iglesia ni Cristo and build a new city."

    Cory we gave serious thought to doing just that about ten years ago. Then the economy took a dump and there were just to many government regulations to hop over.

    If someone wants to give it a shot part of the ranch here on Pass Creek is for sale and I can guarantee that it is way better land then what Scenic ever was.

    Before people can afford even public housing they need jobs. Those jobs don't seem to be a priority to our present governor and crew.

    It's like Richard Pryor's character Mudbone use to say."I woiks to hard to gets my girl a proper ejication, and nots the kind you wants to give her."

    The Blindman

  18. larry kurtz 2013.06.03

    Imagine the desperation of some white guy pulling a pamphlet from that kiosk and thinking: "I'm going to move to a chemical toilet to improve my lot in life."


  19. John Hess 2013.06.03

    MN is much more regulated and leads to higher wages. A friend was a landfill operator there, and in order to work on site had to get training, be certified and actually have a license. The landfills had to be encased in plastic and follow other strict guidelines. Having to get that certification created higher wages because not everyone could jump in to do the job, as where in SD (this was years ago), the only qualification was the ability to operate the equipment and the pay was dismal.

    He's still amazed at how little regs we have here. In a town of 100 a dog license is required. Also kind of interesting, those little towns over there have "Munis", Municipals, which are city run bars, restaurants, and liquor stores. I think we stopped at Walnut Grove. The manager said the town likes to provide jobs as well as collect the income. Great service and nice restaurant provided by their socialist state!

  20. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.06.03

    More jobs, better wages, and less groundwater pollution from landfills—I'm still looking for the downside....

  21. Bill Dithmer 2013.06.03

    "State officials, local firm pair up to seek energy jobs"

    Rapid City-based Black Hills Business Strategy won a state contract worth up to $225,000 over the next 14 months to complete an exhaustive study of the fast-growing oil and gas industries and to look for ways to create new jobs in South Dakota to service them.

    This smells like more of the same state crap. "Won a state contract" really? A quarter of a mill for an exhaustive study? And I never even saw where the contract was up for bids.

    Who's doing who?

    The Blindman

  22. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.06.03

    Wow, Jana: the points in that survey pretty much refute the main political selling points South Dakota offers... which maybe is the point. Maybe our GOP leaders in Pierre want South Dakota to present itself as a regressive enclave where the dwindling GOP true believers can cluster and hang on to their ideas for as long as possible against the turning tide of the general American political sensibilities.

  23. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.06.03

    Unfortunately for that marketing strategy, a big chunk of the folks who would fall for that tactic are conservatives who are interested in making money... and they would look at the above economic analysis and see they won't get bigger paychecks in South Dakota.

  24. Stan Gibilisco 2013.06.03


    Throw enough numbers and stats at people, and you can make them believe anything -- or else reject everything.

    Your 7 percent number for Wyoming doesn't apply to me. I closed on a property there a month ago. (Right now I am renting it out but I may move there if times get tough.)

    Wyoming does not tax food. The property tax on my place there (near Cody) is one-fifth or one-sixth the property tax that I am paying here in Lead.

    Opportunities exist for me in Cody, such as math tutoring, that pay a lot more there than they would here.

    The wind and solar options both exist on the Cody property in great abundance. Here in the Black Hills, not so much.

    When I run the numbers, my cost of living there in Cody would be several percent lower than here -- taxes as they are now.

    So why do I stay here?

    Larry would know! I love swimming in chemical toilets! I was not only desperate when I moved here, but perverse as well. Desperation and perverseness come with the territory for lone wolves such as myself.

    All that said, I heard today that South Dakota ranks 50th on the wage scale in the United States. But I doubt that the solution is to haul off and sock everybody with a 7 percent tax on their paychecks.

  25. Deb Geelsdottir 2013.06.03

    It's difficult to really fathom the differences between SD and MN. I've been living in St. Paul since 2007. There are the tax differences, most already described. A couple of additions: Clothing is not taxed either. The legislative session just completed last month included some tax changes. Single incomes above $150,000 and couples above $250,000 are taxed at a new, higher rate. I wish I could remember how much. Some are insisting that the wealthy will move out. I'm sure some will.Most won't.

    They won't because MN thinks differently about the workforce. While there are companies like Walmart which is indifferent to their employees so long as management can find warm bodies, that is far from the dominant attitude.

    The business section of the Mpls paper, the Strib (Star-Tribune), always has articles about employees and how to increase productivity. The tools are never about ways to crack down harder on them. It's about positive incentives, creating better conditions, encouragement, support, education. This holds true regardless if the work is manufacturing or banking. Unfortunately, not so much for simple, unskilled labor.

    MN is very clear that anyone is welcomed, regardless of skin color, ideology, religion, etc. A big push for the recent law for equal marriage for all came directly and publicly from business. The big ones like General Mills, Cargill, Medtronic and others gave public support because they recognize that lesbians, bisexuals, gays and all of the Not-Exclusively-Straight white people have a great deal to offer.

    There is a hopefulness, an excitement, that is rare in SD. There is pride in the state for the state. There is pride in ranking in the top third of states, or higher, in nearly everything. A recent study showed MN at #50 in a minority issue. (I don't remember exactly what it was.) Immediately the state has gone to work to fix it. There was almost no time wasted in attacking the source of the info.

    I'm born, raised, educated, worked in SD for 50 years. I truly love SD, and can no longer live there for nearly all of the reasons discussed on this blog. I really enjoy living in MN, and often miss the space, the farm, the Hills, West River, etc. It saddens me that SD refuses to open up to the rest of the world and welcome in all the new ideas, people, ways of being and thinking and believing. SD's enforced insularity is crippling to the state. All respect to you who continue to fight for the best SD possible.


  26. Jenny 2013.06.03

    Deb, your article is exactly how I feel. I'm a SD farm girl, proud of my roots but left SD for MN over 10 years ago. Why? Mainly for a much better wage. I have come to enjoy living here. MN has its problems like any other state, but compared to SD, MN is way ahead of the game in terms of public education, wages, equal rights, infrastructure.
    Minnesotans have a proud, independent quirky streak to them. There are plenty of Minnesotans that love their guns but love their unions at the same time! I don't know, but doubt, you would see that in SD. Minnesotans aren't afraid to vote for tax referendums that will go towards education and sound environmental policies. The politics here is like you said, exciting. The day MN voted in gay marriage equality, which I proudly supported, was an historic day for MN that I will always remember.

  27. Jana 2013.06.03

    Just think how much the Young Republicans will love their party when the GOP once again attempt to gouge an even bigger profit by doubling the rate of student loans to the benefit of the banks that tanked their economy.

    I don't think this debate had any chance of being discussed while college was in session.

    Wonder what candidate Rounds thinks of increasing student loan rates by 100%. Could that be considered a tax as it is a source of revenue for the government?

    Here's who makes money besides the now private Sallie Mae:

    Here's Elizabeth Warren's proposal:

    I bet John Thune and Kristi will also have a thing or two to say about why we should double student loan rates on Young Republicans...not that anyone would ask...but we can hope can't we? Media?

  28. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.06.03

    Stan: lower taxes and higher wages? Holy cow! Wyoming ho!

    Jana: someone should point out that raising student loan rates is obviously harassment of young people based purely on their political beliefs. Tyranny!

  29. Les 2013.06.03

    Bakken, Bakken Bakken. You folks really enjoy the wages created by the destruction of communities, wetlands, dry lands, rural families, rural communities never to be the same and on and on. Teachers pay is better up there Corey, just ask Sherry Arnold's family up in Sidney Mt. how far that pay goes.
    I lived in Mpls for you Mn fanatics, didnt mind most of it. Came home one day and my home was burglarized, they backed a truck up and loaded everything and my neighbors wouldn't even talk to me about it.
    "There is a hopefulness an excitement". Huh? Deb, we had conferences in the Brainerd area last fall, most of the employees were temps from out of state working those jobs. Do you own your own home Deb? Why do we have Minnesotans moving into our area saying they are tired of stepping over dead bodies?
    As to the right good economy in Mn, it helps to have four feet of top soil and 35 annual rainfall instead of and inch or two of top soil and a foot of rain. You have natural resources beyond compare to both Dakotas.

  30. Jana 2013.06.03

    Tyranny indeed! Don't forget profiling...horrors.

    Of course the GOP policy makers are not concerned about the looming student debt bubble...but then no one ever accused them of seeing the consequences of their actions.

    Imagine if the fees on heavy farm equipment and trucks were raised at the same rate as fees and tuition for tomorrows leaders...the political carnage would make grown men weep.

    But hey, what could happen by blowing up student debt?

    But hey, maybe we could open up a whole new market for degree insurance. If you should invest in a higher ed degree there should be government subsidized insurance to protect you from low pay yields that would cover your investment.

    Say, aren't they also talking about a farm land value bubble as well?

    This article talks about both bubbles.

  31. James Snyder 2013.06.04

    Your article and data are intentionally done to make South Dakota's efforts look bogus. You might want to take a better look and really examine wages, cost of living and taxes. IE) The tax burden in SD ranks 2nd in the 50 states at 7.58%. MN ranks 53rd at 10.79% which is almost a whole percentage point above the National Average. The Sales tax is a little misleading. Gas taxes are higher in MN than South Dakota. Business Tax climate is horrible in MN at 45th while SD is 2nd Nationally. I also looked at wages and your data is either wrong or done intentionally to skew things. I'm guessing it is focusing more on the Twin Cities then Minnesota overall. Hourly positions do not vary that much for SD and MN. In almost all cases it was roughly $1.86 per hour less. Salaried roles weren't as disparaging either.

    I also looked at home prices in Sioux Falls/surrounding compared to Minneapolis (all of the city/surrounding. Talk about a drastic difference that makes moving here even better. Home prices have declined each year in Minnesota for quite a few years now. Most recently they saw another 5.5% decline in home value and a median home price of $153,000. Sioux Falls ranks continually in the top for best city. Average median home price is $137,000. But don't just look at the $16,000 difference, also look at the price per sq foot. Sioux Falls beats Minneapolis. You get more "bang" for your buck. Average per sq foot in Minneapolis is $172. Sioux Falls is $92 per sq foot.

    I'd highly recommend doing more research. Quit hating on SD for political points.

  32. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.06.04

    James, I do not hate South Dakota. I do not seek mere political points. I want my state to tell the truth (an expectation I have of everyone whom I love). I stand by the MIT data. MIT has no reason to make stuff up to make South Dakota look bad. It's a nice objective dataset.

    Sure, the tax burden in Minnesota is higher. The living wage data reflects that fact. But the average wages, as reported by the BLS, make up for the discrepancy, giving Minnesotans making that average wage more proportional cushion than South Dakotans making their average wage. Plus, Minnesotans get better roads, bridges, and schools to boot.

    Do more research? I'm already there... and unlike you, I give sources for my data so people can check for themselves.

  33. James Snyder 2013.06.04

    It's all public data. You can do the math in comparing home prices yourself. Go online and do it. The Tax Burden info comes from Tax Foundation in D.C.

  34. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.06.04

    Explain to us, James, how that data somehow escapes the comprehensive analysis of the cost of living offered by the MIT living wage calculation... and why we should choose data from a think tank founded and run by corporate CEOs over the objective data I have offered.

  35. Jenny 2013.06.04

    Actually James, if I was going to do a home pricing comparison, I would compare housing prices in Sioux Falls to either Rochester or Duluth. These towns are more similar in population. Minneapolis is a major metropolitian area. Everyone knows metropolitan areas are going to be more expensive.

  36. James Snyder 2013.06.04

    Because you won't accept others because you want to stick with the data that best suits your argument. And, Jenny, if someone from Minneapolis is looking at Sioux Falls they shouldn't compare the good deal because we don't have the major metropolitan area? That's just dumb....

  37. James Snyder 2013.06.04

    And personally that report is biased towards the effort of a "living wage" law in this country.

  38. Jenny 2013.06.04

    A 'good deal' moving to Sioux Falls, James? Like a major drop in income? If you want to move to a slower rat race of a town, fine, go for it, but expect a major drop in wages. Will you really be getting ahead? It all depends on what a person wants.

  39. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.06.04

    "personally"—what does "personally" have to do with the discussion here?

    James, you just ran that "Tax Foundation better than BLS+MIT" argument around in a circle. You're telling me I should abandon my figures because they support my argument. Ha.

    Your assertion that the MIT living wage calculation are biased does nothing to diminish the argument I'm making on South Dakota's false recruitment tactics.

    (1) You provide no evidence of political bias by MIT's researchers.

    (2) You provide no evidence that any such bias would invalidate their numbers.

    (3a) If MIT has some legislative agenda, you fail to show how that agenda would single out South Dakota for an inaccurate portrayal. What dog does anyone at MIT have in the South Dakota–Minnesota fight?

    (3b) Let us assume MIT has some legislative agenda that causes bias in their numbers, specifically an overestimate of the cost of living. Barring some explanation of a bias on their part against certain states (that's a positive claim requiring further proof), MIT's legislative agenda would likely be national, causing proportionate misrepresentation of numbers in every state. Even that bias would not invalidate my argument, as the MIT numbers placed alongside the BLS average wage numbers (which have not been indicted anywhere in this discussion) would still demonstrate that average-wage-earning Minnesotans would enjoy a greater cushion beyond their actual, unskewed living wage than would average-wage-earning South Dakotans.

  40. Building on Stan and Cory's discussion of lone eagles, I've come to the conclusion that that's the best way to start building up our communities. With "lone eagles" working for companies from elsewhere, or for themselves for clients who live elsewhere, they are effectively in those higher-wage markets--not the lower-wage markets of South Dakota. If one wage-earner in a family could be making a wage comparable to other places, the spouse can stand to work for a little less at a "local" job, and the family will still be doing fine on the whole.

    It's hard to predict what will happen in coming decades, but it's plausible that as more people work distantly from their companies, the wage advantages or disadvantages of any particular place will become less sharp.

    Of course, there's also the tendency of wealth to concentrate in fewer hands—a trend that's so strong that it will probably negate any lone-eagle wage-flattening effect.

    But I'm an optimist. I'll keep rooting for the lone-eagle effect until reality proves me otherwise.

  41. Deb Geelsdottir 2013.06.04

    I've heard some misrepresentations of MN. While one may experience localized economic struggles in any state at any time, MN's economy has been on an upswing for the past 5-6 quarters. Housing construction has been booming for several quarters. The economy in the Iron Range (north central) is improving due to new mineral mining.

    It is true that Walmart and fast food joints pay the least possible here as they do everywhere.

    The comments of several here are perfect examples of why SD's economic struggles have multi-generational endurance. There are no comments asking how we can introduce MN-style economics in SD. There are plenty of attacks, anecdotally and arguing statistics. SD truly is at or near the bottom in so many categories that are important to people who might consider moving here. It takes much more than a minimal tax base. Otherwise SD would be so crowded! But it's not. Other than unchangeable climate (Well, except for accelerating climate change!) and topography, what does SD need to do differently? Doing the same thing more and harder will continue to fail. "Good business climate," referring only to money for employers is not enough. 40+ years is enough to make that crystal clear. It's time to drop Plan A. There are another 25 letters to go. SD needs to move on!

  42. John Hess 2013.06.04

    Be realistic. How many lone eagles are gonna choose South Dakota? Our weather stinks. They are educated with decent salaries so most will pick a place with a lifestyle to match. Stan readily admits he would pack up tomorrow for a better financial situation, opposite the commitment to form a community. Modern day carpetbagging.

    As far as Minnesota goes, Marshall is a pretty neat place. A regional center, but still a small town, with a Lowes, HyVee, Kmart, Walmart. And those small towns around there still seem just like ours. There may be violent crime in the Twin Cities, but rural MN seems just as safe as we are here.

  43. Deb Geelsdottir 2013.06.04

    When I first moved to St. Paul I was really intimidated by the size, traffic, etc. But soon I realized that I don't live in ALL of StP. I live in my neighborhood. When I discovered that the neighborhoods are really just small towns, it got easy.

    My neighborhood borders on Macalester College. We have 4 different coffee shops in our neighborhood, two of which are small mom & pop shops. There are several independent cafes to eat at, next to the locally owned Ace hardware store. We have a couple convenience stores, mechanics, garden/poultry needs store. There is a Whole Foods grocery store. It is a chain and spendy, so we have to go across the freeway to a chain store for affordable food.

    I know my neighbors and they know me. I've been teasing the couple on the east side about his attempts to build a low stone fence. He and I talk about growing up on a farm. The neighbors to the west aren't as friendly. The little girls across the alley make me laugh. They jump on their trampoline while yelling about anything and everything. Dominic, another cross-alley neighbor, has helped with car stuff.

    When I lived in RC it was much the same. Some neighbors were friendlier than others. Nearly every person I meet has a counterpart in SD. Minnesotans are not all drugged out gangbangers, welfare cheats, LBTGs, rich, effete, tattooed and pierced, criminals, etc. My best synopsis of MN is that there is no difference between a SDan and a MNan, except for a greater openness to the larger world, and pride, without defensiveness, in this state.

  44. Deb Geelsdottir 2013.06.04

    Oh yeah. A major factor in MN is 2 party government and a much better level of transparency. Right now both houses and the governor are DFL. (Democratic Farm Labor) Prior to the last election, 2012, both houses were in Republican control with a DFL governor. Before him, the governor was Republican. There is NO gerrymandering. Districts are a joint DFL/Republican creation, approved by the governor, unless they cannot agree. In that not infrequent case, a nonpartisan panel of retired judges draw the districts with input from interested parties.

    MN has been known as government that works for years. The shut down that was caused by disagreement between the Republican legislators and the DFL governor, tarnished the sterling reputation. The shutdown lasted 20 days, ended by the gov. (Most people blamed the Repubs and they were swept out of majorities by the DFL in 2012.)

    When there are issues with government in MN, action ensues and changes are made. Even though MN is a blue state, Repubs play a role, sometimes even having a majority. People make changes when they are unhappy with the current state of affairs. Marches, demonstrations, protests happen all the time. Things get organized, meetings are held, action chosen and taken. That is citizens participating in government, making wants, desires and criticism known. That's how good government works.

    Via a long route, what I'm concluding is that one party dominance and opacity is the worst thing happening in SD.

  45. Les 2013.06.04

    Deb, Mn was so far down the Econ outhouse hole you had nowhere to go but up. SD has always had a flatter Econ than Mn. My friends left Mn at the market peak and bought out here at the peak. Their investments here are stable while those who purchased those Mn assets are mostly broke. Please explain to them about the Mn attitude.
    Pay higher wages, sure, I'll hit you up for double the costs so I can. Whatcha gonna do about it.? Oh, so I'm an overpriced sob and you're not gonna pay my price.
    SD has never had the abundance of people to create the demand for a very rural state and never will, with a Mn attitude or not. We just do not have the natural resources.

  46. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.06.04

    Les, the living wage data I give at the top supports what you say about higher prices in Minnesota. But the point is that the higher wages give you a greater cushion than you get in South Dakota... and the Governor's kiosk is pulling your leg when it says South Dakota will leave more money in your pocket.

    Now, can you explain further how your friends' varying luck with investments reflects a fundamental difference between MN and SD? If you're right, if you're talking about some important systemic difference and not just an anecdotal accident, the Governor might want to include that difference in his marketing pitch at the Mall.

  47. Les 2013.06.04

    Isn't it wonderful that fantasyland exists so close, just a five hour drive for those of us in the unenchanted West River country.
    I agree a 2 party system makes government work to some degree. That said, this perfect picture you paint doesn't add much to your cred Deb. .
    Compare us to Mt, Wy, and Ne with respect for them having oil, gas, coal and the Ogalala or compare Mn to NY.

  48. Jenny 2013.06.04

    MN has had the highest voter turnout in the nation for decades (over 67% in 2012), Cheer up SD, you rate high for voter turnout also. MN has a popular state policy that allows people to register to vote right on up to election day, which is what I believe should be allowed in all states. This encourages people to vote.

  49. Les 2013.06.04

    There is no luck involved in buying a flatter growth product, it generally doesn't have the wild swings that happen with the faster growth. All housing and land in our state has tended to rise at much less than explosive as has been seen by the Kansans to Texans who've been coming to our state to invest since the early 60's and held for the consistent gains on resale.
    My friend Doug from Ohio bought a home Spearfish at the peak of the market and got homesick, sold for a break even in January of 09 went home for three years to find out his memory really wasn't that good and recently moved back here. Tell me where that happened in Mn or anywhere for that matter? I can tell you many stories of where they went bankrupt over there just making payments while underwater.
    I'm not saying Mn to Ia haven't had spectacular gains on land, but the jury needs more time on the land spec bubble. Deb can let us know how that $20,000/acre recent auction land is holding her food bill down in Mn along with 60% of her corn going into alcohol instead of beef and pork.
    It seems every one with the liberal bent here wants more wages for SD. You with all the ideas tell those of us running the biz how to pay higher wages? My business's represent both interstate and intra state customers and to a tee, neither has a looser wallet than the other including my Mn customers. There are none with a mandate to use our services.

  50. John Hess 2013.06.04

    Well, there's no doubt we need higher wages although I was surprised to learn today the average household income in Madison is 75k to 80k. But we still have a lot of entry level jobs at $10 an hour, or less. When incomes aren't high enough to encourage growth, people move, either to Sioux Falls or where the grass looks greener out of state.

  51. I'd just like to point out that in my town of 201, there are five lone eagles that I know of--I consider myself one of them. We all make reasonably good salaries, but what we really provide for our families is quality health insurance. When my husband and I were considering moving back to South Dakota, that was the biggest factor: We knew what it was like to be poor, and didn't mind the thought for a while, but we couldn't gamble with our family's health.

    I know of quite a few other lone eagles in surrounding communities. The aren't here in huge numbers, but just think: 20 years ago, there weren't any. If people want to find a way back to the communities where they were raised--and, believe it or not, there ARE people who want to do that--being a long eagle is one way to make that possible.

    It's "realistic." It's already happening. I'm not saying we're going to repopulate our communities on just the lone-eagle effect--but it's the most easily accessible tool I can think of to bring families back to rural places.

  52. John Hess 2013.06.04

    It wasn't possible 20 years ago so there's bound to be a few at this point. You came back because of ties to the state, but the vast majority of lone eagles have no connection and will pick a more moderate climate. I'm stickin with the position they are not an effective building block. We need stable employers to keep SD people here.

  53. Les 2013.06.04

    Time will tell John, an employment of any type may be the future. Never ending expansion is not realistic.

  54. Deb Geelsdottir 2013.06.04

    Les, I'm not sure what you are reading. Where did I describe MN 'perfection'? Didn't I say we just had a state government shutdown? Didn't I say that people raise a ruckus when they think things are screwed up, and that happens frequently?

    Lies, you used some anecdotal stories which I have no reason to doubt. You're clearly quite defensive. And that is exactly the point I've been making.

    Haven't you been listening closely enough to realize that I love SD and want it to be better. I want SDans to be justifiably proud of our state, rather than defensive. Are you tired of comparisons where SD comes in down at the bottom? Tired of defending SD? Then Make Changes!!! That's the point!

  55. Les 2013.06.04

    Comparing apples to onions darn sure doesnt sound like you love the onions Deb.
    I've already said we need a two party system.
    I don't care how much attitude you change, until you have some resources developed beyond the small area of tourism and ag, you can smile all you want and the money for all the changes you wish on us cannot happen. They do come in retirement, for our low tax base and cheap housing, so a breakfast community we become with low wage retail employment.
    We have no large workforce or population. We have large area with few people and that area won't support more people by today's standards. Yes, we can do better, but compare Mn with NY if you want to know why I'm reacting to your statements. We are "The Buffalo Commons" after all.

  56. Les 2013.06.04

    Congratulations Sam. It's looking to me like the "conservatives" better get their riding gear on, they're about ready to get rode out of town.

  57. Bill Dithmer 2013.06.05

    "We have no large workforce or population. We have large area with few people and that area won't support more people by today's standards. Yes, we can do better, but compare Mn with NY if you want to know why I'm reacting to your statements. We are "The Buffalo Commons" after all."

    Les you do realize that one in eight people that live in this state also live on reservations. All reservations have an unemployment problem. At least two have unemployment , depending on who is doing the counting, of between sixty and eighty percent. Just think about that. One eighth of the population of a state living where there is no work and yet the state is putting its job hunting recourses elsewhere.

    It looks to me like the jobs that the governor is trying to bring back to the state are all within the I29 corridor. Wouldn't it be better to train, retrain, or reprogram a workforce, to work a forty hour week, that is already here?

    Isn't this all about trying to bring the standards of living up that people are currently living in? The fact that we cant find enough employment to support the people that we now have means that either, we just cant get er up, or we just don't give a damn about those people that live on that large area of land. I suspect the later would be the case from past history.

    And no we are not the "Buffalo Commons" not yet anyway. Before that happens there would need to be a considerable amount of money that changes hands. The food growing machine of the prairie would have to be replaced by something, what would that be?
    Until that time there are still people that live out here. These people are still part of the state of South Dakota, and they, both native and white, are under represented in the job search that the state is engaged in at the present time.

    The only way you can compare MN to NY is to only use upstate NY in the comparison. I agree, the other way it does not compute.

    The Blindman

  58. Les 2013.06.05

    You are right on all accounts Bill. I do realize the poverty that exists in our state and I do not agree with the Gov and his 5Mil employee search that has turned up some 85 employees from out of state instead of creating a local job core org for example.
    I do not agree with the separatism our state poli's always fall back on when confronted with tribal issues. It sucks, it's the chicken $&it way out of taking any serious steps locally.
    My Buffalo Commons statement was about another outsider putting us in a mold we do not fit and my whole angst is comparing us to something we are not instead putting the problems in a real perspective.
    Smile son, we can change the world. But mommie, I'm still hungry!

  59. Deb Geelsdottir 2013.06.05

    Les, nothing I said is population dependent. It is a big hill to climb, and it is climbable.

    When you question my deep attachment to SD, or refer to nonresidents suggestions and hope as having come from"outsiders", you illustrate a SD problem. Who cares where a good idea comes from? Just put it to use! SD is not terminally unique. Work done elsewhere on issues like SD is facing do translate. An idea from New York City can be just as effective as one from Bismarck or Billings. Who cares where they come from?! Make necessary adjustments and get to work on it!!

  60. Deb Geelsdottir 2013.06.05

    I want to be clear about how deeply I respect those of you who do work so hard and bravely to make SD a better state. I know how difficult it is. I was politically active. I worked on elections, demonstrated against the anti-choice law that was referred in about 04 or 5. I ran out of emotional energy to keep going. I did all I was capable of. Cheers to you who continue on in the good fight.

  61. Les 2013.06.05

    Deborah, this post is about taxation and wages.
    You came in about the Mn/SD comparison on "looking to Mn style economics", which requires a population and......
    Wages and taxation in a state the size of SD with 9% native and another 5% white poverty, and a population of 850,000 on a land mass of 75,000 square miles. "Population" is darn sure an issue. Our state does not support population as your state does or the 160acre/homestead would have survived here as it did elsewhere.
    Mn sits on 79,000 square miles and has ag with feet, not inches of top soil, rain measured in feet not inches, iron ore, the mighty Miss and river shipping, timber, granite which all created the obvious use of mills and elevators and shipping sites and along with all that came people to supply the diverse needs creating what you now have. This does not exist because of the current attitudes Deb. That is what responsible folks now need to be caring for.
    Your native population is 1%, ours is 10%. We have 1/7 the population to care for roughly the same land mass. Come with ideas if you like and most of us are more than will to drop our work, have a coffee and listen. But to compare us to a state that has few comparable attributes adds no credibility.
    While I do not agree SD would be overcrowded with any mental change we could make, I also disagree that retirees won't come in a respectable manner as they seek shelter from the downside of city living. We need to change along the way, but we are also fiercely independent and do not take well to Workers from the next hive telling us how we should handle our Queen.
    Sorry if this offends you, the girls want my attention out in the hives for an issue with more immediate needs.

  62. Deb Geelsdottir 2013.06.05

    Sigh. Okay Les, then don't change a thing. I'm done here. Good luck.

  63. Les 2013.06.05

    No prob Deb, I quit telling Minnesota how to run it's business the day I left to come back home to SD.

  64. Jenny 2013.06.05

    This is the typical SD attitude of why nothing every changes in SD. The majority of South Dakotans are hell bent on keeping everything the way it is. That's the conservative way (I guess). Then they wonder why young people are leaving the state in droves.

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