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CMMA is model for state’s manufacturers

When Les Engel and a handful of other St. Cloud-area manufacturers got together one morning in 2008 to strategize about their “talent pipeline” problem, they had no idea how many area businesses would show up. “We were expecting 25 people,” says Engel, CEO of Engel Metallurgical in St. Cloud. “We got 105.” That day, the Central Minnesota Manufacturing Association (CMMA) was born. “We came together because we wanted to have a voice—in the community, in the schools, in St. Paul—to influence things we believe need to be changed,” Engel explains. CMMA’s motto says it all: “Today, growth and innovation can rarely be...

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Great Work by an Intern on Her Summer Vacation

I had an exceptional intern this summer, Tori Roloff, who worked with me on two projects: American Experiment’s multi-year initiative, “Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree”; and a related book I’m writing, tentatively titled Educational Roads Less Taken: How America’s Fixation on Four-Year Degrees Limits Both Careers and Economic Growth.  Tori is a sophomore at the University of Virginia and an alumnus of Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis.  Rather than give her simple assignments such as looking up this or counting that, I asked her to research several complex issues, six in all, and then write a short essay about each...

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Last Call As Twin Cities Suburb Privatizes Liquor Sales

The number of Metro Area cities still in the liquor business continues to decline, the result of stiffer than ever competition. Many "munis" find it difficult to compete on a level playing field, under the price pressure from private sector superstores like Total Wine. Despite cutting costs and prices, suburbs like Edina have seen their profits plunge by hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. The latest state audit of 2015 Minnesota Municipal Liquor Store Operations puts it bluntly. The overall decline in net profits between 2014 and 2015 appears to primarily be the result of increased competition from private liquor stores resulting in lower...

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Minnesota Revenues Falling Below Forecast

The State of Minnesota's revenue in July fell "well below government forecasts", continuing a trend that has gone on for several months. Governor Dayton naturally focused on the extremely modest tax cuts that the legislature has just enacted: Dayton said the new numbers — revenue was 6.4 percent lower than expected in July — concerned him because of the "excessive" tax cuts passed by the GOP-controlled Legislature that "left us without much of a margin for error." But the tax cuts amounted to only $650 million over the next two years, just 1.4% of a $45.5 billion budget. Republicans pointed out that...

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Thomas Friedman agrees with the Trump agenda

Steven Hayward calls it a “stopped clock moment” but in his latest New York Times column Thomas Friedman basically comes out as agreeing with key parts of the Trump agenda.  Imagine that from one of Minnesota’s own and perhaps the most celebrated liberal columnist in America.  It remains to be seen how the horde of Friedman worshipers will take this new revelation from their oracle.  Here’s Friedman’s surprising list of issues: We can’t take in every immigrant who wants to come here; we need, metaphorically speaking, a high wall that assures Americans we can control our border with a big gate...

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