Sections

Weather Forecast

Close

Ventura to Wisconsin Gov. Thompson:

WINONA -- Gov. Jesse Ventura is warning Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson not to try to lure Minnesota businesses across the border.

''All you Wisconsin cheeseheads take the message back to Tommy: I'm a fight you don't want to get into,'' Ventura said to the Wisconsin natives in an audience of about 500 at Winona State University listening to his weekly radio show Friday.

Ventura even eyed Wisconsin's beloved Green Bay Packers as part of his plot.

''I'm probably the only governor who could lure the Packers here,'' Ventura told reporters with a chuckle after his hourlong show. ''Tell him to watch out or it's the Duluth Packers.''

The governor reacted to a recent newspaper article on border raids through a partnership known as Forward Wisconsin, which works to diversify business and lure quality jobs to Minnesota's eastern neighbor.

Competitiveness aside, Ventura said he has a good relationship with Thompson.

''I lean on him for his expertise, he's an extremely bright man. We've learned from him how to reform welfare,'' Ventura said.

But Ventura said he wouldn't sit back and let Thompson lure away companies.

''It's a free world and they're certainly entitled to it, but I think they're going to have a hard time'' taking away Minnesota businesses, Ventura said. He noted the recent tax cuts and sales tax rebate.

The governor said he would attempt to match any tax incentives Thompson put up and added, ''again this session, I'll try to raid Tommy's fireworks business.''

Last year, Ventura unsuccessfully tried to persuade the Legislature to approve limited sales of fireworks to keep the business out of border states.

House Speaker Steve Sviggum, R-Kenyon, watched the show from the audience and agreed Minnesota's business climate has improved to the point where Wisconsin will have trouble recruiting here.

Specifically, he said changes in workers' compensation laws and lower business property tax rates have made the state more attractive to corporations.

Thompson is on a trip to China until the middle of next week.

''Wisconsin is a land of opportunity for businesses. We're growing and expanding at a record pace,'' said Darrin Schmitz, Thompson's chief spokesman.

Advertisement