Just days ago our federal government was shut down and we were headed for a default on our national finances. Other than frustration, the emotion that this problem brought out in me was pride. Not pride in how Washington operates, but pride in how Minnesota operates in comparison.
Take, for example, the new health-care exchanges. Each new day brings more news about various problems the federal health-care marketplace is having. The marketplace made in Minnesota, MNsure, is off and running. By the middle of October, more than 12,000 accounts were created and nearly 4,000 people were already enrolled in new plans.
That’s only after two weeks. We still have several months before people face any kind of deadline to sign up. Part of the reason enrollment is already so high is because the website is working better than the one in Washington. But the plans offered here, some as low as $106 a month for our area, are also much more affordable. Overall, the Minnesota marketplace is just a much better product.
Unemployment is lower
When it comes to unemployment, the national rate isn’t even close to Minnesota’s. Even after improving from 7.9 percent earlier this year to 7.2 percent now, the national unemployment rate is still way higher than our state rate of 5.1 percent.
That kind of economic performance has helped us pay back $636 million owed to Minnesota schools. So on top of lowering unemployment and gaining back all jobs lost during the recession, we’ve now also paid back all the money borrowed from schools two years ago.
A new ‘Made in Minnesota’ tool
When it comes down to it, our strong economy comes from the businesses that support our communities. And now, Minnesota has a new tool to help strengthen those businesses even more. Just this past week, the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) unveiled a new “Made in Minnesota” directory on its website that helps businesses in the state find suppliers and vendors right here in Minnesota. It helps support our state economy by putting Minnesota companies first.
That’s good, because we all know that anything made in Minnesota is going to be much better than the alternative.
Rep. Jay McNamar, from Elbow Lake, represents District 12A in West Central Minnesota in the Minnesota House of Representatives.
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