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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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Is Minnesota Good For Small Business?

New businesses and small businesses create most jobs. Plus, small business is often the route to prosperity for people who don't start out with a lot of advantages. So pretty much everyone recognizes that it is good for a state to be friendly to small business. How does Minnesota measure up as a home to small business? Not very well. Thumbtack surveyed thousands of small business owners nationwide, and several hundred in Minnesota. Based on the responses by small business people themselves, Thumbtack created a report card. Here is Minnesota's. It isn't good: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYxqRRda4h4...

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Minnesota Can Do Better

Within the next few weeks, the Center will release the most comprehensive study of Minnesota's economy that has been done in contemporary times. It will detail Minnesota's economic performance since the turn of the century, which has been mediocre, and identify trends that raise serious concerns about the state's economic future. We expect the report will trigger widespread debate about the extent to which Minnesota's blue-state policies are eroding the state's historic economic strength. Watch for it! In the meantime, enjoy this Center-produced video, which makes a basic point about Minnesota's economy in an entertaining way. Since we released this video...

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$15 Minimum Wage Gains Momentum as Minneapolis Sits on Legal Sidelines

The campaign to drive small businesses and other employers out of Minneapolis by implementing a $15 an hour minimum wage rolls on. Serious doubts exist over the legality of a Minnesota city unilaterally imposing a separate minimum wage. It’s of critical importance to businesses, non-profits and voters grappling with the potential fallout of a higher minimum wage on jobs and the economy. “I represent the ward that is the most challenged and I think anything that happens with the minimum wage hurts my ward a lot more than elsewhere. So that’s a concern I have in going from around $10 to around...

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Being Blue Is Giving Minnesotans the Blues

I wrote the op-ed below, on Minnesota's economy, for some of the free suburban weeklies in the Twin Cities. It is beginning to appear in those papers. One of American Experiment's key themes is that Minnesota's liberal tax, spending and regulatory policies are dragging down the state's economy. In the op-ed, I cite some basic economic data that come from our soon-to-be-published comprehensive report on Minnesota's economy. Minnesota is a blue state. That means that we have high taxes, lots of government spending, and endless government regulations. How is that working out for Minnesotans? Not very well. Consider the following, from...

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Court Loss Over North Dakota Coal Stokes Long-Shot Appeal by Dayton

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton used to know when to call it quits. After giving himself an “F” and shutting down his Capitol Hill office in response to terrorism, Dayton walked away after one term in the U.S. Senate. It was a slam-dunk. So was the June 15 federal appeals court ruling that Minnesota has no business trying to prevent North Dakota utilities from burning coal and putting the power on the regional grid. But instead of stepping back, Gov. Dayton has stepped up his rhetoric and response to what most observers view as a lost cause legally. He's announced an appeal of...

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Do Rental Limits on Homeowners Harm the Poor, Middle Class and Minorities?

Property rights proponents are two-for-two so far this year in contesting proposed ordinances in Twin Cities suburbs that wanted to make it illegal for many homeowners to rent out their houses.  The rejection of a rental cap in Brooklyn Center this week represents a big win for the property rights that undergird our economic liberty, as I wrote here. Yet it's also a victory for renters and tenants in Brooklyn Center and beyond. They already face record high rent bills and a shortage of available rental housing that would have further priced them out of the market by limiting the overall...

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How Strong Is Minnesota’s Economy, Really?

On May 28, the Center's Peter Nelson had an op-ed in the St. Cloud Times. The op-ed dealt largely with Connecticut, a high-tax state state like Minnesota, which is rethinking its tax policies after an exodus of high-profile businesses, including General Electric. Peter then asked, "Is the same shrill wakeup call on Minnesota’s horizon?" He pointed out that Minnesota, like Connecticut, has recently enacted a large income tax increase. Also like Connecticut, Minnesota imposes a death tax--only Minnesota's is higher. And, like Connecticut's economy, Minnesota's economy has underperformed in recent years: Like Connecticut, employment in Minnesota grew slower than the nation the...

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Northeast states start addressing the consequences of high taxes, making Minnesota more of an outlier

Today the St. Cloud Times published an op-ed I wrote on how Minnesota's high taxes are becoming even more of an outlier as a number of states, including traditionally high tax blue states in the Northeast, move to reduce key taxes. Connecticut is now exposing the limits of raising taxes.  They've raised taxes three times since 2009 -- most recently by $2 billion in 2015 -- and the state is still facing a budget deficit this year.  Democrats in Connecticut are finally coming to terms with the fact that the state's high taxes have undermined their economy. For space reasons, some key quotes from the...

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