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When It Comes to the Economy, Minnesota Must Do Better

This is the op-ed that I had in the St.Paul Pioneer Press this morning. It is based on the groundbreaking paper by Dr. Joseph Kennedy titled "Minnesota's Economy: Mediocre Performance Threatens the State's Future." Some of the same factors that make Minnesota a great place to live ought to make for a strong economy — a well-educated work force, one of the country’s healthiest populations, a strong work ethic and plentiful natural resources. But a report by economist Joseph Kennedy released this week by Center of the American Experiment indicates that in recent years Minnesota’s economy has underperformed. In nearly every important...

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The Left’s First Response to our Paper on Minnesota’s Economy

We have been all over Minnesota's newspapers and radio and television stations for the last couple of days, talking about Dr. Joseph Kennedy's important new paper on Minnesota's economy. We want to provoke debate and discussion, so we look forward to getting dissenting views from the Left. The first one came in yesterday, from the North Star Policy Institute. As one might expect, North Star whiffs. North Star begins by claiming that Minnesota is a red state, so if our economy is mediocre, conservative principles must be to blame. ("It is simply unbelievable to blame 'blue-state policies' for red state outcomes,"...

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Watch This Space for Blockbuster Report on Monday

On Monday, the Center will release a comprehensive report on Minnesota's economy by PhD economist Joseph Kennedy. The report will be announced at press conferences at the Capitol in St. Paul, and later in Duluth. We will be looking for television as well as newspaper coverage, and have several newspaper op-eds and radio and television guest appearances scheduled to help amplify the rollout. What does Kennedy's report say? It is titled: "Minnesota's Economy: Mediocre Performance Threatens the State's Future." Dr. Kennedy finds that by nearly all conventional economic measures, Minnesota's economic performance over the past 15 years has been mediocre. Over...

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Are Blue States Better?

Liberals constantly try to advance the narrative that blue (liberal) states perform better economically than red (conservative) states. Today the relentlessly left-wing New York Times printed an op-ed that was intended to demonstrate the superiority of blue-state policies. I wrote about it on my other web site, Power Line. Here is that post, with some additional comments at the end. *** The New York Times publishes a lot of dumb stuff, but this article by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson titled The Path to Prosperity Is Blue is a classic. It purports to show that liberal policies at the state level lead to...

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Regulatory delay in approving pipeline puts tax revenue and jobs at risk in northern Minnesota

Enbridge—the company trying to gain approval to build the Sandpiper oil pipeline across northern Minnesota—just announced it is buying a $1.5 billion stake in the Dakota Access pipeline.   The purchase, according to the Star Tribune, puts the future of the Sandpiper pipeline “in doubt.”  That’s because the Dakota Access pipeline should provide enough new capacity to decrease Enbridge’s mid-term need for the Sandpiper pipeline. This is a huge blow to northern Minnesota’s economy.  An uncertain future for the Sandpiper pipeline means an uncertain future for $25 million in annual property taxes a new pipeline would contribute to revenue strapped northern Minnesota...

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Top 8 Reasons to Hit the “Pause” Button on Light Rail and Fund Proven Steps to Reduce Congestion

As Minnesota road congestion grows, great sums of public dollars are being committed to an expensive and slow fixed rail system that moves few people and no freight. New transit spending should focus on much more cost effective ways to connect people to jobs, such as bus rapid transit. And projects to reduce congestion is the surest way to benefit our entire region. 1. Roads Work: Despite our social planners’ dreams to the contrary, the reality is that Minnesota’s businesses and workers overwhelmingly use roads to get to work and make the economy run. Over 87% of workers in the Metro...

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Fergus Falls educators, manufacturers take on the skills gap

Facing an increasing shortage of skilled employees to fill jobs vacated by retiring baby boomers, manufacturers, educators and civic leaders in Fergus Falls teamed up last year to outfit a state-of-the-art manufacturing lab in the local high school--funded entirely by private donations. This triumph of community initiative prompted several representatives of Center of the American Experiment (CAE) to join longtime local legislator Bud Nornes in July for a town meeting to discover how activists raised almost $320,000 for high tech improvements to the lab in less than six months. “This is an example of what can happen when you have outstanding community...

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Growth in Minnesota’s Median Household Income Doesn’t Lead the Nation

Last March Center of the American Experiment published “Minnesotans on the Move to Lower Tax States 2016,” in which I analyzed IRS migration data. Minnesota, according to this IRS data, has been consistently losing taxpaying households since 2002 and between 2013 and 2014 the state, on net, lost nearly $1 billion in income due to this negative migration trend. These data also provide convincing evidence that Minnesota’s high taxes are influencing decisions on where to move. People tend to be moving to lower tax states. Five of the ten states that, on net, receive the most Minnesotans don’t impose an income...

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High Cost of Doing Business in Minnesota No Deal Breaker for CNBC

There they go again. CNBC just ranked Minnesota as the nation's fourth best state for business in the financial network's 2016 annual rankings. In a state where being above average is an integral part of the folk lore, there's a real temptation to take the ranking to heart. Sure, Minnesota appears in good company, behind Utah, Texas, Colorado and just ahead of North Carolina. Yet it turns out Minnesota's standing rests significantly on two factors that have little directly to do with the business of business--quality of life and education. When it comes to those metrics, Minnesota can hardly be beaten, finishing...

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Renewable Mandate Drives New Increase in Utility Bills

Minnesotans continue to pay through the nose for one of the nation's most expensive renewable energy programs. Electric prices rose by 12.5 percent here from 2007 to 2014, versus a 1.6 percent decline in the average price nationwide. Today the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is taking public testimony in the Twin Cities on Xcel Energy's latest request for permission to jack up ratepayers' utility bills by another 9.8 percent over the next three years. The request follows five consecutive years of rate increases for Xcel ratepayers, which begs the question of why. The liberal grassroots group American Association of Retired Persons is...

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