Minnesota shows Wisconsin how it’s done

This is an interesting contrast between Democratic Minnesota and Scott Walker’s Wisconsin.

Three years into Mr. Walker’s term, Wisconsin lags behind Minnesota in job creation and economic growth. As a candidate, Mr. Walker promised to produce 250,000 private-sector jobs in his first term, but a year before the next election that number is less than 90,000. Wisconsin ranks 34th for job growth. Mr. Walker’s defenders blame the higher spending and taxes of his Democratic predecessor for these disappointments, but according to Forbes’s annual list of best states for business, Wisconsin continues to rank in the bottom half.

Along with California, Minnesota is the fifth fastest growing state economy, with private-sector job growth exceeding pre-recession levels. Forbes rates Minnesota as the eighth best state for business. Republicans deserve some of the credit, particularly for their commitment to education reform. They also argue that Minnesota’s new growth stems from the low taxes and reduced spending under Mr. Dayton’s Republican predecessor, Tim Pawlenty. But Minnesota’s job growth was subpar during Mr. Pawlenty’s eight-year tenure and recovered only under Mr. Dayton.

Higher taxes and economic growth in Minnesota have attracted a surprisingly broad coalition. Businesses complain about taxes, but many cheered Mr. Dayton’s investments in the Mayo Clinic, the new Vikings stadium, the Mall of America and 3M headquarters.

The lion’s share of Minnesota’s new tax revenue was sunk into human capital. While the state’s Constitution required that half of the new revenue balance the budget in 2013, Mr. Dayton invested 71 percent of the remaining funds in K-12 schools and higher education as well as a pair of firsts: all-day kindergarten and wider access to early childhood education. Minnesota was one of the few states that raised education spending under the cloud of the Great Recession. 

By contrast, Mr. Walker’s strategy limited Wisconsin’s ability to invest in infrastructure that would have catalyzed private-sector expansion, and he cut state funding of K-12 schools by more than 15 percent. Per student, this was the seventh sharpest decline in the country.

The article goes on to note Minnesota is also (unsurprisingly) outpacing Wisconsin in providing expanded health insurance coverage to its citizens.


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3 thoughts on “Minnesota shows Wisconsin how it’s done

  1. Having moved from Memphis, TN and living in Eau Claire for over 3 years now, it is apparent to me that the population is almost evenly divided between citizens with above average social and political intellect and those with below average political intellect. Senator Vinehout claims this is because our political and economic centers are in the far bottom right of the state and many other Wisconsinites just don’t get the news. An engaged Democratic colleague apologizes for Wisconsin’s divide because “this is the state that produced Joe McCarthy.”

    But we know that it’s also the state that produced Bob LaFollette and Gaylord Nelson. Whether politically knowledgeable or not, Wisconsin has the most genuinely independent and kind hearted public of any of the states I’ve lived in. If Democrats just continue to work hard and do the just and moral things, we will get this state back. And the country will follow.

  2. Minnesota likes mining. Wisconsin liberals still attack it and the jobs it creates, yet cry about Walker not creating enough jobs.

  3. From reading the comments of Republican Steve, I can only figure that Rethuglican Steve is just plain “stuck on stupid”. Minnesota is a resounding success today because it’s leaders have spent 20 years focusing on developing infrastructure, including it’s K12 education system. Wisconsin has focused on tearing the state apart and demonizing its teachers by shredding the K12 educational system in Wisconsin.

    The economic catastrophe that is Walker’s Wisconsin will only fester and decline over the next 30 years as Minnesota continues to whip Wisconsin’s economic ass. No wonder hundreds of the best teachers in Wisconsin have left for states like Minnesota where teachers are respected and valued as keys to the economic vitality of the state. Go Gophers, Keep Whipping Wisconsin!

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