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Star Tribune Editorial Urges Bipartisan Focus on Center’s Economy Report

American Experiment’s new report on the state’s economy shows Minnesota’s performance has been average, at best, over the last 15 years, trailing many other states in job creation, income growth and other key benchmarks.  Moreover, leading indicators point to Minnesota’s economy performing below average in the years ahead.

Today the Star Tribune published a lead editorial on the findings of our 37-page report, urging liberals to dig into the findings which deserve bipartisan attention.

The report, “Minnesota’s Economy: Mediocre performance threatens the state’s future,” (http://tinyurl.com/joswboy) describes several worrisome trends. Among them: Overall growth in Minnesota as measured by gross domestic product (GDP) has been middling among the 50 states since 2000. In 2015, the state ranked 28th in job creation, 30th in per-capita income growth and — most significantly, we’d say — below average in per-worker productivity in the private sector.

The paper’s editorial board concurs that Minnesota’s higher tax and regulatory burdens play a key role in the state’s economic underperformance and reduced competitive edge—up to a point.

We agree that taxes and regulations matter and that Minnesota could do more to reduce their burden on business.

But a tax cut isn’t a promising tool for boosting productivity. As the report’s author, former U.S. Department of Commerce economist Joseph Kennedy, told an editorial writer, Minnesota would also be well-advised to tap “a lost resource” — adult workers who grew up on the wrong side of the state’s notorious educational achievement gap and who could contribute more to the economy if they were better trained.

We’d call that advice a hopeful note. A liberal-conservative alliance to boost the skills of Minnesota’s workforce could be potent indeed.

The paper may head in other directions when it comes to solutions for what ails Minnesota’s economy. But the editorial indicates a willingness to engage in a critical discussion that American Experiment plans to spark across the state with more meetings with newspaper editorial boards, citizens and local leaders in town hall meetings starting August 24 in St. Cloud.

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