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SD governor: Come for low taxes, stay a while

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) -- The state that markets itself as "Great Faces, Great Places" is using Gov. Dennis Daugaard's smile to lure businesses to South Dakota. The effort has led to 50 prospects in a month, with another month to go, officials say. It also has raised the ire of at least one official in another state.

Daugaard's face is pictured on direct-mail postcards with the text, "Tired of taxes? Call me." The $143,000 marketing campaign that also includes radio and print advertisements is aimed at businesses in Minnesota, California and Illinois, where taxes are higher than they are in South Dakota.

"We're trying to portray we've got a very friendly governor that understands business exists to make a profit, and in South Dakota it's OK to make a profit and keep a profit," State Economic Development Commissioner J. Pat Costello told the Argus Leader. "The intent is to get peoples' attention."

The campaign has received attention in Minnesota, where Kurt Zellers, speaker of the Minnesota House, mentioned Daugaard's ads in a news conference last week and said, "This is war."

The rivalry between the neighboring states has existed for decades. In 1982, Gov. Bill Janklow wanted to debate with Minnesota Gov.-elect Rudy Perpich about Perpich encouraging businesses to stay in state rather than move or expand elsewhere.

Costello and Daugaard said South Dakota is just promoting its positive business environment. The state has no corporate income tax, no personal income tax, no personal property tax, no business inventory tax and no inheritance tax.

"We want them to know that South Dakota is consistently rated as one of -- if not the most -- business-friendly states in the nation," Daugaard said.