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Minnesota’s New Year’s Resolution

This time of year, many Minnesotans are making New Year’s resolutions, pledging to do better in 2017 by going to the gym more often, spending more time with their kids, and so on. Maybe the State of Minnesota should make New Year’s resolutions, too. If so, here’s a suggestion: Minnesota should resolve that next year, it will take steps to make its economy more competitive. Most Minnesotans think our economy is doing well, but the reality is not so rosy. Between 2000 and 2015, Minnesota ranked only 30th among the states in income growth, 34th in increase in disposable income, and...

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Millennials Voted On the Economy

This Millennial Impact Report survey is interesting, but beware--the sample size is only 350. Still, the findings are fascinating: The organization found that millennials had considered education to be the most important topic during the election through each of three waves of surveying. However, this changed when respondents were surveyed between Nov. 9 and Nov. 14. The survey showed employment and wages were the primary concern for millennial voters. Which means they wised up! The country's slow growth during the liberal Obama years didn't do much damage to middle-aged Americans who already had jobs, and quantitative easing improved their bank accounts. But these...

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Minneapolis: Not Liberal Enough?!

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the City of Minneapolis, already "an island of blue in the red sea of the Upper Midwest," may be about to swerve even more sharply to the left: "In Minneapolis City Council races, so far there's left, and further left." Emboldened by Bernie Sanders’ domination of the city in the presidential caucus and prodded to action by Donald Trump’s election, the left wing in Minneapolis is fielding a slate of candidates for council who would usher in a pronounced progressive shift in city government. Many of them are uncompromising on a $15 minimum wage, outraged at...

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Many Minnesotans to Pay Just Shy of the Highest 2016 Income Tax Rate in the Nation

Minnesota’s income tax rate on top earners moved up to the third highest rate in the nation for tax year 2016 after the expiration of a temporary tax increase in Hawaii. The third highest rate on top earners is bad enough, but there are a great many Minnesotans who pay an income tax rate that is just a hair shy of the highest rate in the nation. That’s because Minnesota starts applying the top rate at a much lower income level than some of the higher tax states.  Minnesota’s top rate for single filers starts at $155,650 and the top rate for...

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Will General Mills be the next Minnesota Fortune 500 company lost to a takeover?

General Mills, one of Minnesota’s premiere Fortune 500 companies, made the news this week with renewed speculation that the company is ripe for a takeover.  According to the Star Tribune, the “Brazilian billionaire who helped merge Kraft and Heinz last year could have General Mills in his sights next.” Losing General Mills would, of course, be a substantial blow to Minnesota. The most immediate blow would be felt from the loss of high-paying corporate management jobs that would either be eliminated or moved to the location of the new headquarters.  When AlliedSignal acquired Minneapolis-based Honeywell in 2000, they kept the Honeywell name...

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Court Blocks Controversial O.T. Regs Imposed by Executive Order

There goes another one.  Another signature Obama executive order put on hold as effortlessly as it was imposed, further underscoring the fragility of a presidential legacy that could be determined in great measure by the courts. A federal court in Texas this week blocked implementation of a sweeping set of controversial white collar overtime provisions that were set to take effect within days.  Critics called it a "ham-handed attempt to raise wages through regulation" and harmful to the middle class. Meantime, one media outlet noted the irony that the federal judge who rebuffed the Administration got his black collar job as a result of being selected...

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Business friendly policies spur stronger growth in counties across Minnesota’s border

A forthcoming article in American Experiment’s magazine, Thinking Minnesota, will reveal the grass is growing greener on the other side of Minnesota’s border.  For the article, I analyzed job growth in counties on either side of the state’s border and found jobs are growing at a faster pace in counties just outside Minnesota. This comparison adds another strong piece of evidence to show that Minnesota’s tax and regulatory policies stifle growth.  Growth along Minnesota’s border is strongest where taxes and regulations are the least burdensome. Researchers are increasingly comparing economic activity along state borders to help identify how differences in state policy...

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State Environmental Agency: Christmas Gifts Bad For Landfills

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency may be the last place you'd think of turning to for gift ideas for your Christmas shopping list, not to mention how to find more meaning during the holiday season. After all, what does regulating feedlots, landfills and power plants have to do with Christmas shopping and presents under the tree? The answer seems obvious, but the state regulatory agency just released its monthly "Living Green 365" newsletter anyway, featuring an environmentally correct theme for the holidays: "Make memories, not trash." The MPCA's state guidelines for holiday shopping can be traced to obscure research on "the vogue mantra of behavioral economics." The...

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Dodd-Frank forced my neighborhood community bank to sell

I got a letter this month from the only community bank serving the small town of Deephaven where I live. The branch is just over the border in Minnetonka. Americana Community Bank informed me that they are selling the branch to Flagship Bank Minnesota. “The banking world has changed dramatically…. While the needs of our customers and our shareholders have not changed significantly in that timespan, the federal and state regulations that rule our business have changed. In great part because of those rule changes, the ownership and management of American Community Bank have made the difficult decision to sell….” The letter...

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Is MNsure on Life Support After Election?

One of the biggest questions raised by the election results this week is what it all means for the unpopular MNsure state health insurance exchange. Minnesota was among a handful of states that chose to develop and operate its own health insurance exchange following passage of the Affordable Care Act. But all of a sudden, the survival of both the ACA and MNsure may be on the line due to new political realities, according to the Star Tribune's prognosis. Republican control in Washington plus increased GOP power in St. Paul clouds the future for Minnesota’s MNsure health insurance exchange. Republicans in the U.S....

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