Back in the 80s then-Governor Rudy Perpich engaged in a battle of words with our neighbor to the west, then-Governor Bill Janklow of South Dakota. Probably the best quote to come out of that tete-a-tete was from Perpich who said "South Dakota is 50th in everything." Janklow and Perpich are both gone now, but Sioux Falls continues to advertise in Minnesota about what a great business climate they have. Now a new war is erupting to our east. Wisconsin is run by Republican Governor Scott Walker, and a Republican legislator from Osceola Wisconsin recently sent Minnesota businesses letters urging them to cross the border to the land-o-cheese for a better tax climate. The letter forecasted Minnesota's high tax climate will get worse, especially for businesses, under DFL Governor Mark Dayton's proposed budget that, according to some, has 16 dollars of tax increases for every dollar of budget cuts. In his State of the State Address last night, Dayton mockingly said "Wisconsin is open for business." Then said of all the upper midwestern states, Minnesota has the second highest economic growth (behind the skyrocketting North Dakota) and Wisconsin was last. Dayton said St. Croix County, right across the border, had a 20% higher unemployment rate than Minnesota and 12% lower income. We'll see what the next volley from Scott Walker, Tax-less Ranger will be. On another topic, have you noticed how gas prices have gone up in lock step with the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which is flirting with 14,000? No matter what the oil companies tell you, the fact is, oil prices go up when they think the economy and consumer confidence is up, and they think people will pay the prices without too much complaint. It doesn't matter that oil is flowing out of North Dakota at a crazy rate and the U.S. will soon be the leading oil producer in the world...the oil companies run things, and they will stick it to us until we stop buying their product.