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MN Loses Population to Other States in 2016 But Some Counties Buck Trend

Migration, especially domestic migration, is a key indicator of the desirability and success of an area.  People vote with their feet and move to places with good jobs, affordable housing, and strong communities. County-level statistics on population change released by the U.S. Census Bureau last week reveal which areas of Minnesota are winning and losing this vote. Minnesota has been losing population due to people moving away to other states since 2002 and that trend continued in 2016.  Among Minnesota’s counties, 51 lost population from net domestic migration, 35 gained population, and Aitkin County netted out at zero. The five counties experiencing...

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A city-country mice divide in Minnesota? We don’t see it that way

Less government, more freedom is good for rural and urban Minnesota. This op-ed appeared in the Star Tribune March 20, 2017. In “Bridging our city mouse/country mouse divide” (March 5), Dane Smith and Vernae Hasbargen of the liberal policy group Growth & Justice write that they “have witnessed far too much warfare between metro and rural mice. We are worried that it’s getting worse.” Smith and Hasbargen see a cultural divide between urban and rural Minnesotans. They diagnose “metro condescension” in the cities and “rural resentment” in Greater Minnesota. Some metropolitan progressives think “rural people are gullible hayseeds,” while some rural voters have...

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Why ‘Yuge’ Meeting on Obama MN Mining Ban May Not Matter

There's a "yuge" public meeting in Duluth tomorrow on the planned Twin Metals copper mine being held up by a last-minute Obama administration preemptive regulatory strike. Hundreds of supporters and protesters will likely show up in a Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management spectacle that could get rowdy over the previous president's moratorium on mining and exploration on 235,000 acres of federal land. Yet some say it's not that big of a deal--the public meeting that is. There's widespread expectation on both sides of the issue that it's only a matter of time before the new administration reverses the ban,...

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Understanding the New Tax Plan America Needs

Respected economist Lawrence Lindsey has written a piece in the Weekly Standard that explains why the House Republican tax plan “is exactly targeted at the economic ills that afflict our country.”  First he establishes that the American economy really is sick: “From 2011-2016 we observed the poorest economic expansion on record.” “Barak Obama was the first president without a year of 3 percent real GDP growth while in office.” “[F]rom 2011-2016, annual growth averaged more than a full point less than growth from 1965-2010, a period that includes drag from multiple recessions.” “[G]rowth in real personal incomes and wages lagged behind the long-term historic...

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Will Legislators Bag Minneapolis Plastic Bag Ban?

It may not be too late to save freedom of choice at the checkout line in Minneapolis. All Minnesotans' ability to choose between paper or plastic at their local grocery store would remain secure under legislation gaining momentum in the Minnesota House. The bill forwarded by Rep. Jim Nash (R-Waconia) bars local governments from enacting ordinances that ban bags--plastic or otherwise--or putting a fee or tax on using grocery bags provided by merchants. The measure would also retroactively roll back plastic bag bans like the 1,200 word Minneapolis ordinance set to take effect on June 1, 2017.  The state law as drafted...

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Business Calls for More Immigrants: At What Cost to Taxpayers?

We are hearing the call for more immigration every day in Minnesota as employers struggle to find good employees around the state. And it’s more like an alarm since the President called a “time out” on refugees and immigrants, and signaled a desire to re-work trade agreements. What is the business community doing to insure that this immigration is a long term success for the state, not a just a short term fix? ...

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What Kinds of Jobs Are We Talking About?

I’ve written several times in recent months about how Center of the American Experiment is gearing up for a multi-year project that will make the case that large numbers of young people, feeling pressed to seek four-year college degrees even though they really don’t want to, wind up dropping out, minus good jobs and routinely in big debt.  This is so even though they, in fact, could have won good jobs and started building solid middle-class careers if they had pursued different kinds of post-secondary training, including one- and two-year certificate programs in community and technical colleges, the excellent job...

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Government, Not Wall Street, Caused Financial Crisis

The Trump administration is right to call the Dodd-Frank legislation passed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis a “massive government overreach.”  As critical repair efforts begin in Washington, it is important to realize that the crisis was not caused by greed, Wall Street risk-taking, and lack of private sector regulation, as is the dominant narrative advanced by the Democrats and the media. Instead, the crisis was set up by well-intentioned but reckless government housing policies going back to the 1990s, and the crash was triggered by blunders of historic proportions by the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve.  The...

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The Many Virtues and Similarities of Transatlantic Plumbing

The British government announced last week that it would spend 170 million pounds (the equivalent of about $213 million) developing a series of “Institutes of Technology” intended as “credible alternative[s]” to well-worn routes many young people take to more academically oriented universities.  As reported by Times Higher Education, the new Institutes are part of Prime Minister Theresa May’s industrial policy, in which “technical education will get a radical shake-up so as to ‘level the playing field’ for those who do not go to university.” The Prime Minister was “expected” to say that the strategy would be a “critical part of the...

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New report pinpoints several aspects of state tax code that challenge Minnesota’s competitiveness

This week the Tax Foundation, in collaboration with the Minnesota Business Partnership, released Minnesota Illustrated: A Visual Guide to Taxes & the Economy.  The guide provides a chart book that illustrates how Minnesota’s economy and tax system compare to the rest of the country, paying particular attention to Midwestern peer states. This is the latest in series of chart books that the Tax Foundation has created for various states.  The primary goal for each book is “to help readers understand [the state’s] overall economy and tax system from a broad perspective.” Regarding Minnesota’s economy, the chart book is the latest in growing...

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