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Minnesota’s revenue growth ‘far out-paced’ most of the nation

MinnPost photo by Corey Anderson

It seems barely a month ago we were hearing how miserable the state’s financial condition is. At the Strib, Jim Spencer says, “Minnesota’s state revenue growth during and after the Great Recession far outpaced most of the nation, the Pew Charitable Trust reported in a just-released national analysis. Only North Dakota, with its oil drilling boom, and Illinois showed larger percentage increases in revenue from the first quarter of 2006 to the second quarter of 2014, the analysis revealed. Meanwhile, inflation-adjusted state revenue remains below pre-recession levels in 29 states, including Wisconsin … .” Heh.

It actually would matter to you, you know. The Strib’s Allison Sherry gives some attention to Al Franken’s “net neutrality” campaign. “Franken jokes that he has been ‘toiling in the vineyards’ since the early days on net neutrality. But since Franken’s wide-margin re-election victory this month, the labyrinthine principle that essentially promises all Internet traffic and speeds should be treated equally is finally getting some spotlight love. … Bolstered by the president’s support — and ostensibly Franken’s re-election — a fledgling grass-roots lobbying force across the country among small and medium-sized businesses has seen renewed life this month. Even state and local governments — including Minneapolis — are getting in the mix, posting statements on Twitter and on websites supporting the concept.”

Grandpa will not be happy. Stribber Paul Walsh on kids out cruising in a pricey rig. “A Twin Cities teenager ‘out for a cruise’ in a Maserati at 2:45 a.m. with two young friends rolled the powerful luxury car on a rural highway southwest of the Twin Cities, landing himself in the hospital, authorities and one of the passengers said. … A 17-year-old boy was behind the wheel of the 2006 Maserati Quattroporte when it veered off the wet highway, into the ditch and rolled, the patrol said. That car comes equipped with a nearly 400-horsepower engine. Among the passengers was Michael A. O’Brien, 18, of Bloomington, the patrol said. O’Brien said the car belongs to his grandfather.”

Been looking for a new invasive pest to worry about? The AP says, “The mountain pine beetle has devastated huge swaths of forest in the Rockies, and scientists fear the insects could threaten the majestic pines of Minnesota and states farther east someday. Initial results from a three-year, $250,000 research project by the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture back up some fears about the risk. The scientists wanted to confirm in the first phase of the study whether the beetles would find the most common species of pines in Minnesota delicious and nutritious. Experiments this summer show that they do.”

Some turkey stats from Reid Wilson of the Washington Post. “No one does turkey better than North Carolina and Minnesota, which are home to the nation’s two largest turkey producers: Butterball’s headquarters are in Garner, N.C.; Jennie-O is based in Willmar, Minn. Together, those two companies produce about a third of all the turkeys sold in the United States. Minnesota produced 46 million turkeys valued at $839 million in 2012, according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center at Iowa State University. North Carolina raised fewer birds, 36 million, but they weighed more than Minnesota’s, netting the industry $849 million.”

Soon-to-be-House Minority Leader Paul Thissen has a commentary, picked up by the Winona Daily News, on the matter of the GOP delivering something of value for the out-state support it received in this month’s election. “It seems fair to ask: Will Republicans be willing to stand up to their big Twin Cities corporate donors and make sure to continue DFL investments in education that are closing the funding gap between rural and suburban school districts rather than handing out corporate tax breaks? Will a Republican legislature respond to the unique economic challenges that have made it harder for our economic recovery to be felt from border-to-border? Will a Republican legislature solve the health care challenges that face an aging population in Minnesota? Republican rhetoric and action has been antagonistic to local government aid and direct property tax relief, claiming the state has no role in reducing property taxes — will that continue?”

Predictably, Gary Gross at the conservative True North blog says, “Republicans voted against the DFL’s attempt to use taxpayers’ money to buy votes with massive spending increases directed at their special interest allies. The Dayton-Thissen-DFL budget wasn’t a budget as it was the DFL checking off as many of the items on the DFL special interests’ wish list as possible. The DFL’s tax bill didn’t reform the tax code to make Minnesota competitive with its neighboring states. It’s amazing that the DFL’s hostility to businesses didn’t result in them losing more seats.” Did I mention Gross is upset with Thissen’s “spin”?

Also, as you read ex-talk jock Jason Lewis’s “I told you so” about “skyrocketing” health insurance premiums (as a result of Obamacare) you may want to keep in mind that no one ever said it was going to be free. Says Lewis in the Strib, “For years I’ve been arguing that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Now, as more and more realize that ‘free’ health care isn’t so cheap, I’ll bet I’m not the only one wishing Democrats would just quit proving me right. Indeed, Minnesotans are reeling from a rather predictable Obamacare sticker shock that a few of us brave souls warned about. … Bureaucratic incompetence, however, is not at the heart of what ails MNsure. It is the ACA’s coverage mandates themselves — which are nothing more than the latest income-redistribution scheme coming from nanny state politicians who think they know what kind of health care plan everyone should have even if it costs you twice as much.” That of course is what you get in the bubble where rhetoric matters more than reality.

Yeah, if that incident was given a pass, something needs fixing. At MPR Laura Yuen reports, “Calls are growing to change a St. Paul civilian review panel that recently exonerated police officers involved in a controversial skyway arrest. Mayor Chris Coleman has invited civil rights advocates to hear their concerns about the 20-year-old citizen panel, which found that the officers acted lawfully and properly in the arrest of Christopher Lollie. African-American leaders say the process is flawed and needs more transparency.”

When everything being built is “luxury,” does the word have any meaning anymore? In the PiPress Frederick Melo writes, “A private developer has released long-term plans for up to seven new luxury apartment or mixed-use buildings along the Mississippi riverfront in St. Paul’s Highland Park neighborhood, in place of the recently demolished U.S. Bank offices at 2751 Shepard Road. Pending city approval, construction would start next year at Shepard and Davern Street. … The proposal has jump-started a current city study to possibly reroute Shepard Road so that it lies north of the proposed development and connects to Norfolk Avenue, creating a better connection to Minnesota 5.”

Comments (15)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 11/24/2014 - 07:09 am.

    No, you can’t drive my Maserati…

    A relatively recent immigrant from Colorado, I’d say Minnesota has quite a bit to be concerned about in regard to the Mountain Pine Beetle. Whole river valleys in Colorado have been turned from green to reddish to brown as forests stretching for miles in every direction have been killed in a season or two. Aesthetically, it ain’t pretty, and economically, it will take generations for those forests to recover.

    As for the Maserati… Several years’ income would be required for me to purchase one, but you can bet that, if I could afford to buy it, I’d be the one driving it, not my grandson.

    Mr. Thissen has asked some pointed – and useful – questions

    While “conservative” Gary Gross asserts “…It’s amazing that the DFL’s hostility to businesses didn’t result in them losing more seats.”

    The Pew Charitable Trust is presenting data showing that : “…Only North Dakota, with its oil drilling boom, and Illinois showed larger percentage increases in revenue from the first quarter of 2006 to the second quarter of 2014, the analysis revealed.”

    One can’t help but wonder what universe Mr. Gross is living in.

    • Submitted by Tom Christensen on 11/24/2014 - 10:31 am.


      recently rated Minnesota 5th best in the nation for their business climate. Wisconsin was rate 32nd. Lookout Wisconsin Walker is likely to make a presidential run. So he can look presidential you are about to go on a crazy ride ala Tim Pawlenty. Pawlenty stole from the educational funds so he could balance the budget and ultimately left the state $6,000,000,000 in debt. Mr. Pawlenty didn’t even want to live in the mess he created so he left the state. So much for effective rational conservatism. Conservatism is a term given to the GOP by the GOP so it has no meaning.

  2. Submitted by jason myron on 11/24/2014 - 07:49 am.

    Well, if you’re familiar with Gross

    you would know that he doesn’t reside in any reality-based universe. I remember years ago when I actually posted a comment on his blog. He was flabbergasted to have someone actually challenge his ideology. These people have no frame of reference other than what’s in their carefully controlled, fact free bubble.

  3. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 11/24/2014 - 07:59 am.

    N. Dakota revenues are up because people are making more money. It’s the consequence of allowing the free market to exploit opportunities for the benefit of all.

    Minnesota revenues are up because the state is taking more money. It’s the consequence of taxing the pants off citizens irrespective of what the market is doing.

    One of those models is sustainable; one is not.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 11/24/2014 - 08:28 am.

      One of those models is sustainable; one is not

      Yeah – North Dakota is gonna run out of oil someday, and then what?

      • Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 11/24/2014 - 09:45 am.


        some high income earners and corporations are looking elsewhere in search of a better and more fair tax structure.

        • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 11/24/2014 - 11:49 am.

          Tax Structure

          I’ve been hearing for twenty years about how Minnesota taxes are killing jobs, driving corporations away, and causing high income earners to flee the state.

          And yet they’re still here and our economy is still booming along.

          So how long do we have to wait till our economy is as bad as Wisconsin’s? You know–the place next door with a Republican governor, a Republican legislature, and an economy that’s limping along while our gallops.

          It seems to me that if you’re pro business and pro consumer, you should be voting Democrat, not Republican. The latter just doesn’t know how to get an economy moving.

        • Submitted by jody rooney on 11/24/2014 - 12:52 pm.

          Good luck to them.

          And yet when the do surveys of businesses they find that taxes are way down on the list of things they look for:

          Decrease taxes is just background noise for business. It’s almost like filing out a viewing form on real estate transaction on sale price “above market value” has no down side. Taxes are to high has no down side to a businessman.

          That’s why they push transportation and tech education.

          I can’t believe that business has not left the health care business – I mean really there are a lot of HR benefits people who should be fired if they can’t figure that one out.

        • Submitted by jason myron on 11/24/2014 - 02:46 pm.

          too bad

          an equally educated and productive work force doesn’t come along with their elusive “purple squirrel” tax nirvana. That must be why we have 20 Fortune companies and South Dakota has zero.

    • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 11/24/2014 - 09:39 am.

      When nodak

      Runs out of oil and drinking water from fracking, MN will sell water to them for more than a barrel of oil.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/24/2014 - 09:49 am.

      Fairest State from Sea to Sea

      North Dakota state government is firmly in the hands of the oil industry. Even tea partiers are coming to resent that.

      I know this is from the liberal east coast media, and I know it’s a lot of words (some of them big ones), but this story is instructive:

    • Submitted by Leon Webster on 12/01/2014 - 01:55 pm.

      Revenues are up because ND has Oil

      ND revenues are present because there is oil in Bakken shale formation. It has nothing to do with any sort of political or economic philosophy. Using your logic, you could also say the Soviet Union , the Theocracy in Iran, the left leaning govt. in Venezuela, and the Saudi monarchy are all successful.

      Of course, as the price of oil declines, all of these places will be less successful. In North Dakota’s instance, the people there may soon realize that there governor and legislature have sold out to the oil industry. As a ND native, I am saddened by the environmental destruction occurring in the western half of the state.

  4. Submitted by Greg Price on 11/24/2014 - 08:03 am.

    pine beetles & shepard road

    Agree with mr. Schoch on the maserati…kid will probably kicked out of private school and have to go to a more elite one out of state…..

    As to Pine beetles…we have them in the Black Hills of South Dakota and it aint pretty…massive devastation…I hope it never advances to the North Shore and points west.

    Nice blurb about the turkeys….seasonally accurate info…

    As to Shepard road…its been thirty yrs since I lived in St Paul…but…would the City moving the road not only assist traffic (marginal) but enrich the property owners by turning their asset property into “riverfront”?

    my $.02

  5. Submitted by jody rooney on 11/24/2014 - 11:35 am.

    So that’s a Maserati Quattroporte

    I saw one on the road and thought it was a Buick.

  6. Submitted by Gerald Abrahamson on 11/24/2014 - 11:46 am.

    Reality isn’t in most conservatives’ mindset.

    ‘Republicans voted against the DFL’s attempt to use taxpayers’ money to buy votes with massive spending increases directed at their special interest allies.’

    Funny how we don’t hear anything about the conservative wealth tax in MN, passed in 2011 and went into effect in 2012. People are required to spend more every month than they take in. Same amount in/out–that works. But a ‘state fee’ added to expenditures, OVER AND ABOVE that amount (paid to conservative backers–state contractors) makes the cash flow negative EVERY month in perpetuity (per the state’s official documentation). That leads to bankruptcy.

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