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My productive visit to St. Cloud to talk about the refugee resettlement program

Our treatment by Congress and presidents back to George H. W. Bush has been downright shabby. The refugee resettlement program is a federal program; it was supposed to be paid for by federal tax dollars. Instead, the bulk of the funds and hard work come from state and local funds, with the burden on communities like St. Cloud. It sets people up for conflict with refugees rather than success. We must insist that Congress do its job and revisit this program....

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Should MN amend the constitution (again) to get dedicated funds for roads?

Lawmakers are frustrated. They cannot get enough funding for roads. Why? MnDOT has been captured by the “multi-model” approach to mobility championed by the Metropolitan Council, our mega regional planning and transit planner, owner, operator and funder (it levies taxes). They are Met Council Multi-Model Moonies at MnDOT. ...

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Minnesota’s Copper and Nickel Deposits are World Class

Minnesota has a long history of mining iron ore, which continues to this day. In fact, nearly 75 percent of the iron ore produced in the United States is mined in Minnesota. However, many people may not be aware of the fact that Minnesota has some of the largest undeveloped copper and nickel deposits in the world. These massive deposits hold an estimated 4 billion tons of copper, nickel, and other precious minerals. These minerals are valued at more than $40 billion, according to Antofagasta PLC, a Chilean mining company that is seeking to develop these deposits. Developing these resources will create...

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Iron Range Editor Blasts “Metro-Centric” Sen. Smith

The dean of Iron Range editors has issued the equivalent of a Surgeon General's warning over the implications of Sen. Tina Smith's rise to power for northern Minnesota. Recently retired Mesabi Daily News Executive Editor Bill Hanna didn't mince words in his latest column headlined "Metro-Centric Smith Should Concern Most Iron Rangers." Tina Smith is a nice, charming and engaging person. Those three qualities help make for a prolific political fundraiser, something Minnesota’s soon-to-be newest U.S. senator does with great energy and success. That will serve DFL Party leadership well. But Smith, who will be sworn into the Senate on Tuesday after Sen. Al Franken...

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President Trump Updates Executive Order on Refugees: Could Help MN Track Costs

The Center has been trying for several years to answer a simple question: how much does the refugee resettlement program costing taxpayers. Why? Minnesota is the number one destination for refugees in the United States on a per capita basis. We get a large number of refugees placed here by the federal government—and we get a big surge from what is called “secondary migration.” ...

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Too Risky: Co-op Turns Down $4.9 Million State Broadband Grant

For years we've been told the state needs to throw tens of millions of taxpayer dollars at providing high-speed internet access to rural areas. Along the way, private providers have often taken heat for not investing as quickly as politicians would like in sparsely populated rural pockets of the state, due to the lag time in recovering their costs in the marketplace.  DFL lawmakers in particular have advocated for additional state broadband funding on steroids as a feel-good cornerstone of the party's strategy to reconnect with rural Minnesotans disaffected with the party's radical policies. True to form, legislators appropriated an additional $20...

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Tapani Sisters of Wyoming Machine show the way on closing the skills gap

Up in Stacy, Minnesota, the Tapani sisters—Lori and Traci—are blazing a trail in workforce development. The two are the co-owners and co-presidents of Wyoming Machine. This spring, the Tapanis won the National Association of Workforce Boards’ (NAWB) prestigious business leadership award in Washington, D.C., for their work in developing the workforce and economy of Washington County and other Minnesota communities. They were in remarkable company. The other company so honored was national behemoth Lockheed Martin. The award honored the Tapanis for their “ardent commitment” to training and enhancing workforce skills in manufacturing. According to the Star Tribune, In nominating the sisters, Washington County workforce...

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Are Polls Accurate or Misleading? Dayton’s Approval Rating is 62 Percent

Poll results are back in the headlines. According to a recent Star Tribune Minnesota Poll, Governor Dayton’s approval rating is at 62 percent — the “highest job approval rating of his tenure.” But as we learned from November 2016, poll numbers are not always accurate or indicative. Dayton is not seeking re-election in 2018, but the Star Tribune feels the governor’s poll results will give “DFLers at least one reason to be hopeful about hanging onto the seat.” But will the poll results of 800 Minnesotans translate into real results come next November? Or will the misleading nature of polls...

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Will Governor Dayton Veto Money for Roads?

The House and Senate have both passed transportation bills that follow the general outline recommended in the Center’s Minnesota Policy Blueprint for Transportation: road, roads, and more roads funded with existing revenue and not one dime for light rail. Why can’t the Governor sign a “roads” bill as an Easter gift, and then get on to other pressing matters, like tax relief and education? ...

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