Arizona should follow the ‘Minnesota Miracle’ to economic prosperity

PrintI have previously posted about the economic laboratory experiment in the Midwest, comparing my home state of Minnesota to its next-door neighbor, the state of Wisconsin. If the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and and Industry really wants to learn about ‘Leadership,’ it should invite Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton to speak instead, and Scott Walker takes his act to Minnesota, fails by comparison.

Mark DaytonBy all comparisons, Minnesota’s Democratic Governor, Mark Dayton, and  his Democratic-controlled legislature are doing a fabulous job, while Wisconsin’s “twice-elected goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage their Midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin,”  Governor Scott Walker, and his Republican-controlled legislature have turned the Dairy State into a dystopian nightmare.

Our boy Scotty even Faces a G.O.P. Revolt in Wisconsin:

As Gov. Scott Walker prepares to announce his campaign for president next month, promising to bring what he calls “big bold leadership” to Washington, as he did in Wisconsin, he faces a cloud over that story line: Republicans back home are in revolt.

Leaders of Mr. Walker’s party, which controls the Legislature, are balking at his demands for the state’s budget. Critics say the governor’s spending blueprint is aimed more at appealing to conservatives in early-voting states like Iowa than doing what is best for Wisconsin.

Lawmakers are stymied over how to pay for road and bridge repairs without raising taxes or fees, which Mr. Walker has ruled out.

The governor’s fellow Republicans rejected his proposal to borrow $1.3 billion for the roadwork, arguing that adding to the state’s debt is irresponsible.

“The governor rolled out $1.3 billion in bonding,” Scott Fitzgerald, the Senate majority leader, said in an interview. “It’s not been well received, is the best way to put it.”

Juxtapose this chaos in Wisconsin with this report from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. High-tax Minnesota is nation’s best state for business, CNBC declares:

Minnesota, a state known for high taxes and also for being among those more sympathetic to labor unions, is the nation’s best state for conducting business in 2015, according to a newly released ranking from the CNBC business news network.

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“Never since we began rating the states in 2007 has a high-tax, high-wage, union-friendly state made it to the top of our rankings,” CNBC said in a statement accompanying the rankings. “But Minnesota does so well in so many other areas — like education and quality of life — that its cost disadvantages fade away.”

The network’s study uses 60 measures of competitiveness, separated into 10 categories. The categories include workforce, economy, infrastructure and transportation, education, cost of living, cost of doing business, access to capital, innovation, business friendliness and quality of life.

Minnesota got high marks for its low unemployment rate (3.8 percent) and its strong labor force participation rate (70.8 percent).

CNBC also said Minnesota ranked third for quality of life, noting a low crime rate, clean air and water, and access to quality health care.

“Minnesota is on the right track overall for business growth, for job creation, for improved standard of living, quality of life,” Gov. Mark Dayton said at a news conference Thursday highlighting the newly released ranking. “Not that we don’t have our deficiencies; we do … but overall, and the fact that businesses look at state’s circumstances overall, we’re on the right track.”

According to the study, Minnesota’s workforce is highly educated, and the state also offers worker-training programs that try to ensure future placement in jobs.

Wisconsin finished 15th. Here is the more detailed report from CNBC, Minnesota is 2015’s Top State for Business – CNBC.com, which contains this nugget for those of us here in Arizona:

The biggest drop this year is Arizona, which plunges 21 spots to 34th place. The biggest factor is Arizona’s economy, which declines to 36th place from 15th a year ago. While the state is still adding jobs, overall economic growth has slowed considerably to 1.4 percent last year, or roughly half the rate two years ago. That has exacerbated a $1 billion budget shortfall that necessitated painful cuts earlier this year. Two counties have gone to the Arizona Supreme Court to block some of the cuts. Whatever the outcome, the uncertainty is no help to the state economy—or to businesses.

Governor “no new taxes” Ducey, the ice cream man “hired by Koch Industries to manage their Southwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Arizona,” and his faith based supply-side “trickle down” GOP economics acolytes in the Tea-Publican Arizona legislature are destroying this state with their misguided policies.

Nancy LeTourneau posted a piece at the Washington Monthly’s Political Animal blog last month about the “Minnesota Miracle” that politicians in this state would do well to read. Redistribution vs Trickle Down:

MN The State That WorksI would offer Rich Lowry a different example of how Democratic policies in urban areas have worked. Back in 1973, TIME magazine noticed that something interesting was going on in Minnesota. Here was their cover (right).

No, the story was not about how this land of 10,000 lakes was good for fishing. The story was about the Minnesota Miracle that was launched in 1971 to address the fact that resources were vacating both the rural and urban areas of the state – leaving them cash-strapped to provide basic services.

What was the answer that the Minnesota Miracle came up with? It’s that r-word that is so dreaded in conservative circles – redistribution. Instead of forcing local communities to rely on regressive property taxes, state income taxes were made more progressive and revenue was sent back to local governments to ensure an even playing field among urban, suburban and rural areas when it comes to government services.

Derek Thompson recently looked at how all that has impacted the Minneapolis/St. Paul Twin Cities area 40 years later.

Only three large metros where at least half the homes are within reach for young middle-class families also finish in the top 10 in the Harvard-Berkeley mobility study: Salt Lake City, Pittsburgh, and Minneapolis-St. Paul. The last is particularly remarkable. The Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area is richer by median household income than Pittsburgh or Salt Lake City (or New York, or Chicago, or Los Angeles). Among residents under 35, the Twin Cities place in the top 10 for highest college-graduation rate, highest median earnings, and lowest poverty rate, according to the most recent census figures. And yet, according to the Center for Housing Policy, low-income families can rent a home and commute to work more affordably in Minneapolis-St. Paul than in all but one other major metro area (Washington, D.C.). Perhaps most impressive, the Twin Cities have the highest employment rate for 18-to-34-year-olds in the country.

To be honest, the Minnesota Miracle has taken some pretty big hits lately – especially during Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s two terms. And we’ve got a lot of work to do when it comes to the disparities between white people and communities of color in the state. But this is the foundation on which Gov. Mark Dayton has been able to build over the last four years and why his results have been so impressive.

The Twin Cities area is a great place to live – if you can stand the cold. The reason is that the rest of the state didn’t abandon us, but worked to “share the wealth.” The truth is that redistribution works for everyone and trickle down never seems to get to a destination other than lining the pockets of the already wealthy.

I point to this post because of the long practice of Tea-Publicans in the state of Maricopa who use the state budget as if it is the county budget of Maricopa. They skim all the cream off the top for themselves, and leave the skim milk for the rest of the state (Dairyland reference). There are 14 other counties in this state that are being harmed by the voracious greed of state of Maricopa Tea-Publicans. They have not had the foresight to build a statewide economy, and the revenue sharing with counties that is Arizona law in recent years has been disregarded by our lawless Tea-Publican Arizona legislature. Pima County sues state over budget changes.

Look to Minnesota as the model to fix Arizona’s problems, not another Koch-bot like the one turning Wisconsin into a dystopian nightmare.

2 responses to “Arizona should follow the ‘Minnesota Miracle’ to economic prosperity

  1. Kevin Brown

    I think we are more likely to follow the Kansas model.

  2. “trickle down never seems to get to a destination other than lining the pockets of the already wealthy.”

    Given that this is the entire and only point of the whole “economic” theory, I’m not surprised that goggle-eyes homunculi like Scott Walker and Il Deuce are so much in favor of it. The men holding their leashes have but one guiding philosophy:

    “I got mine, Jack, f**k off!”

    That Minnesota is doing so much better than Wisconsin doesn’t matter in the slightest. They don’t give a rats ass about anyone but the 0.01%.