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Tuesday Talk: How to help MN businesses move forward?

February 07, 2012 By Katie Sanders, Interim Communications Director

It is no secret that there is little likelihood of the jobs lost during the recession ever coming back. Public investment and resources for both displaced and new workers are part of the solution.

What does Minnesota need to do to help Minnesota’s economy and businesses move forward in creating well-paid jobs? 

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  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    February 7, 2012 at 11:04 am

    With 9 times as many people of color being arrested and jailed over the use of the non toxic herb Marijuana, legalization is the only way we are going to stop this elitist white collar, White racism. Once we accept this attitude change, marijuana as economic development becomes the quickest and easiest path to 15,000 + living wage jobs within 60 days of said legalization, without one red cent of government help. It also provides a half Billion in immediate reduced costs to our local and state governments.
    Providing amnisty and complete pardons for all affected makes jobs and education funds available to the hundreds of thousands targeted by this last remnant of “Jim Crow” racism. It is a win win for the entire state.

  • Mike Downing says:

    February 7, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Yep, the only thing we need to do to help MN Businesses move forward is to legalize marijuana…...  grin

  • Jim Spensley says:

    February 7, 2012 at 11:29 am

    The metropolitan airports commissioners need to work out how to increase airline competition, airport safety, and air service. 

    The high fares and hassles limit tourists, business, and convention visits to the Twin Cities or greater Minnesota; the extra costs (fees for parking, bag checks, air fares) and hassles constrain business travel, particularly by small businesses.

    As a result, businesses of all sizes reasonably choose to add jobs elsewhere because air travel is essential to global opportunities and very import domestically as well.

    The arrangements made with Northwest Airlines for the airline to provide jobs and flights in return for MSP facilities used by connecting passengers (at a cost of $1.5 billion about) were re-negotiated to a few million dollars in offsets, but Delta attained the gates, slots, and other facilities in the merger, only to cut payroll, purchasing, and flights significantly.

  • Mike Downing says:

    February 7, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Seriously, businesses simply need a better business climate in MN and become more competitive with other states to move businesses forward in MN.

    Additionally, MN businesses need more students in STEM classes and fewer lawyers, fewer sociology/psychology/english/history etc. students.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    February 7, 2012 at 11:36 am

    While it is far from the only thing we can do Mike it is a very easy and low cost change that produces very large results while ending this last vestige of government supported “Jim Crow” racism. It is common sense, it is morally right, and it is long over due.

  • ChristeenStone says:

    February 7, 2012 at 11:45 am

    In thinking of ways to create funds and employment for our present economy, it fits well with another problem. I was fuming at the week vacation the majority of the party declared to go to the caucus.I recalled the good old days when Iron Rangeand other outstate legislator use to hope they wouldn’t have an afternoon session so they could get home and be back here for session next day.

    I was assured by some one that there really isn’t anything they have to do this session, so no problem we should grant this free vacation. I had a great idea, why don’t we just cancel the session, since it isn’t necessary. Think what we could do with all the money we would save, we could hire more good teachers and pay the school the money we owe them. That would help the economy. I am sure those legislators could find something better to do,than sitting here thinking up constitutional amendments that aren’t necessary. Right?

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    February 7, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    I think we should direct most monetary aid to small start-up companies with good ideas about green energy production; air, soil and water pollution reduction; affordable housing; concrete ideas for attracting visitors/tourists, and anything else our state may need more people working on. New jobs would be just one payoff as each company would improve the state’s economic and environmental health. 

    Paying companies to hire people is a waste because they will hire people when needed, with or without a governmental incentive.  But perhaps they could use help in training new employees in technical areas and the state could offer help with tuition.

  • Bruce Kittilson says:

    February 7, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    RE:  Bill Hamm’s comments.

    I agree fully with Mr. Hamm’s position on marijuanna.  As much as I dislike the smell of pot, I prefer it to the stink of our national drug policy.  It is as Bill described it.

  • KJC says:

    February 7, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    We have to think big.  And what would help MN businesses move forward is the same thing as other US businesses.  Customers with income to spend.. from jobs. 
    In a recent interchange that got some play about “how those jobs are coming back” from Apple?  What did get a lot of play?  Was there comment on how “they didn’t owe America.” 
    Well, a top trade negotiator… a Republican from the Reagan era, Clyde Prestowitz, completely debunks that.  Pointing out how Apple got built on things that were created by government money and how it’s supply and delivery chain is protected by government money.  I have the link below. 
    I assert, again, that we need a “if you want to sell here, you must employ here” policy.  And they owe the country that is making them rich something. 
    And Mr. Prestowitz lays out the facts on how all the US taxpayers have, and still do, contribute to Apple’s success.  When we stop tolerating excuses, and demand real action, this will get fixed.  And not one minute sooner.  As you read this article from Foreign Policy, remember that it’s a (real) conservative talking, not a “liberal.”

  • George Greene says:

    February 7, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    The first step might be to focus on the real job creators -small business.

    Unfortunately the US Chamber represents the interests of big business. Though they talk a lot about small business you don’t really see any substantive action benefiting small business. Also, Citizens united has given big business the means to influence elections.

    Small businesses need a voice. A new group, Small Business Minnesota at, talks about small business from a progressive worldview.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    February 7, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Thank you Bruce, it isn’t just the initial legalization that is a boon it is getting in first on this issue. Who ever gets in first will enjoy 2 to 4 years of Marijuana tourism here that will bring in 10 to 20 billion more dollars for those in lodging, the restaraunt industry, and entertainment just to name a few. It has many other benifiets as well such as reducing alcohol consumption, a proven healthy side affect. While that may be offset by the munchies and a tad more obesity, it is still considered a positive thing.

  • Paul Harder says:

    February 7, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    I completely agree with Bill, but I would add that we need diversity of business in Minnesota. And no Mike, lowering business taxes when they don’t pay much to begine with won’t bring more business into Minnesota… but yes, having an educated available workforce and all the other good things we have here (but are crumbling under our feet) like good transportation options and quality of life options. If taxes drew more businesses, South Dakota would be the state with all the Fortune 500 companies (ZERO) and Minnesota wouldn’t have any (20)...

  • Mike Downing says:

    February 7, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Paul, Once again you allow emotions to dictate your opinion. Look up job growth statistics and you’ll find states with low corp taxes, good business climate, right to work, etc. with the highest job growth. Texas, Utah, North Dakota, Indiana, Oklahoma, Alaska, etc. are among these states.

    You can wish it not be true but the facts speak louder than your opinion.

  • KJC says:

    February 8, 2012 at 8:42 am

    Where do I start?  I’ll pick one of your examples: Texas. A star of job growth?  Now for the ways being stated here, and certainly not for the reasons being given. 
    What are the reasons?  It’s because over the last 15 years NAFTA created a huge, new, corridor of manufacturers over the border in Mexico.  Guess where there is now a growing trucking and warehouse industry to handle those goods ... to move them here, for sale in the USA?  Those goods have to go through Texas and it shows in more jobs in those industries.  Texas is one of the few states that are very big beneficiaries of NAFTA. MN and the “rust belt?” Mostly losers.  (There is no similar row of manufacturers springing up just over our Canadian border, is there….) 
    And the huge run up in oil prices over the last decade has been good for Texas.  Those “oil separation” fees bring in a lot of money to their government (so we pay their taxes when we buy gasoline,) and even more huge petro industry profits.  This is where the money for Texas job growth comes from, not the factors being mentioned.
    And if you look even more closely?  Texas also has a very high poverty rate, and a very high rate of people with no health care benefits, etc.  So lots of minimum wage, no benefits, jobs.  I wouldn’t be bragging so loud about what a big accomplishment this is?  As an accident of NAFTA, and of having oil deposits, it is certainly no model for the rest of the US, in any case. 
    THAT’s what a bigger view of all the statistics says… the emotional garbage is all that divisive talk, stuff like “low taxes did it.”  Indeed, as the Ernst & Young study shows, total business taxes ... as actually paid ... are lower in MN than Texas.  Yes, let’s set emotion aside, and get the facts straight.

  • Mike Downing says:

    February 8, 2012 at 8:59 am

    I direct Paul and others to read today’s Editorial on MN’s business tax climate in the Pioneer Press. The nonpartisan Tax Foundation ranked MN #45. But we beat Rhode Island, Vermont, California, New York & New Jersey!!

    I can just hear Paul & others muttering “I wish it not true!”.

  • kjcracer says:

    February 8, 2012 at 9:57 am

    To deliver the facts, not mere opinion:
    For 2010, as a percentage of the State Gross Product (GSP) Minnesota businesses paid 4.4%, and Texas businesses paid 5.1%  (With the average for the whole nation at 5.0%)  This is what they actually PAID, (not some theory that is based on looking at rates filled with loopholes.)  It’s coming from their (well known) tax accountants, not some lobbying organization.
    It’s on page 11 (Table 5) of the huge Ernst& Young state tax comparison.  You can read the whole thing.  Here’s the link to a main page, just go the bottom and click on the “read the whole study” link.


    I am so tired of misinformation being propagated, again and again.  Heck, Minnesota is a below average state for percentage of total business taxes collected… that’s what their own accountants say!  Let’s here some of these groups admit that, before they start the “we want more for ourselves” chant once again.

  • Robert Nepper says:

    February 8, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Attention: All citizens looking for work…

    Our state Senator Chuck Wiger, has introduced a tremendous new jobs bill for us (SF 78). It promises to pry loose thousands of good, private-sector jobs by requiring employers to simply “Use or Return” all employee inventions, so these firms can no longer block new products, new business, new jobs and new spin-off firms.

            Use or Return
        ( SF 78)
    This law would require employers to simply “Use or Return” all employee-submitted inventions which they claim. This law promises the following benefits:

    1. Employers would develop more inventions (for fear of losing title to due to inaction)
    2. Employees would submit more inventions (knowing that the employer could no longer bloc them indefinitely)!
    3. The above two critical factors promise to “cross stimulate” each other providing a permanent source of new business and good, private sector jobs – at no-cost whatever to the taxpayers.
    4. Employees would regain their civil rights to the incentives and protection of the U.S. Patent Office, by gaining ownership of their unwanted inventions (but only after the employer had rejected or abandoned them).
    5. More highly desirable manufacturing jobs (and cutting edge technology) would be retained in Minnesota because new products seldom create sufficient sales volume to make massive offshore production profitable
    6. The above massive benefits promise to restart and SUSTAIN our economy without any bureaucratic or taxpayer cost whatsoever.
    7. “Use or Return” is expected to PRODUCE tax revenue (by creating tax-paying jobs) rather than the normal jobs bill, which CONSUMES tax revenue!

    To illustrate how effective this law could be at providing hundreds of thousands of good jobs, read the following history. One employer actually released an unwanted invention back to his creative employee as “worthless.” But once freed from the normal corporate strangulation of unwanted inventions, this “worthless” invention spawned a huge $50 BILLION entirely new xerographic industry (the Xerox copier) and created a HALF-NILLION new jobs! (Wall Street Journal May 23, 1989) 

    Senator Wiger needs lots of community support to encourage him to fight for these new jobs (in the face of stiff employer resistance). They are already fighting for the continued freedom to claim and then block all unwanted employee creativity! We cannot afford this continued waste of new jobs if we want full economic recovery.
    Senator Wiger can be reached at (651) 296-6820 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


    Robert Nepper
    2251 Shawnee Dr.
    N. St. Paul, MN 55109 (651) 777-5159       .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


  • Mike Downing says:

    February 8, 2012 at 10:47 am


    Thank you for making my point on emotions driving liberal’s opinions. Anyone can sense your deep seated emotion from your words.

    Here are are the facts on the MN Business Climate:

  • Melvin Aanerud says:

    February 8, 2012 at 11:06 am

    In the late 1940’s to the late 1960"s the debt continued to rise, but the percentage of debt of GDP went down from over 120% to just over 30%.  Because the economy grew and the economy grew because of government investment in infrastructure (What business would build the dams, ports, electrical grid and highways that were built then - Business built them but with government infusion of dollars) Government investment basic Research and Development (The University of Minnesota provided the Iron Range with the method to produce low grade taconite and saved the economy of that part of the state.  It produced new wheat that is now feeding the world that without that research could not feed the 7 billion populations we have.  The world will soon be at 9 billion people and without government sponsored research and development we will not be able to feed them all) Government investment in Education (we are not in competition with Wisconsin or Alabama; we are in competition with Singapore and China and Japan.  We grew rich as a nation because we invested in education and if we do not continue to do that we will not be able to lead the world forever). And how did they fund it all: the spread between the taxes of the highest and lowest tax rates was 70%, in the 50’s and 60’s now if it less then 20%.  I suggest that you use Dayton’s call for higher taxes on the richest 1%, so that the state is not always in financial crisis mode and that government can fund in infrastructure, because that which is there needs repair so badly and we need to invest in more.  Support a big bonding bill.  Support tax reform that will insure that those to gain the most from government action pay their fair share.  Support educational funding….it really is the only expenditure that is required but he state constitution.  It is not time for government to do less; it is time for government to do more.

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    February 8, 2012 at 11:10 am

    The Tax Foundation is hardly “non-partisan.”  It was started by a group of corporate leaders decades ago and its board of directors has included executives from Koch, ExxonMobil, and the campaigns of Bush, Cheney and McCain.

    It is definitely a right-wing, corporate friendly group.

    Wikipedia notes that Paul Krugman has labeled their information “untrusty.”

  • KJC says:

    February 8, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Mike, to pretend that a mere comparison opinion, based on front-end tax rates is similar in credibility to Ernst & Young reporting what is actually being paid in?  That’s laughable.  (I have a bridge in Brooklyn….)
    What can you say about an organisation that proudly proclaims on its front page that “the Bush tax cuts didn’t increase income inequality.”  The whole “carried interest” provision that made tax rates ultra low for the mega-wealthy ...far lower for that group than it is for regular folks like you and me… to the huge benefit of people like Romney and Buffet (under his protest) is EXACTLY the kind of tax legislation that has gravely increased income inequality.
    They’ve got a lot of chutzpah alright, but credibility?  Not so much.  Anyway?  Even in this seriously slanted report, which I remind only looks at rates… not what is actually paid in… Texas is listed as 37th and Minnesota 42nd, looking at corporate taxes.  Do you really think that NAFTA and having oil in the ground aren’t bigger factors than being 37th vs. 42nd in corporate tax rates between Texas and Minnesota?
    (I have some land in Florida….)
    Sorry, I’ll believe the actual accountants numbers on what is really being paid-in over a lobbying group’s loaded opinions about tax rates any day.  Anybody that wants to shill for them?  Go right ahead, but it won’t change the facts any.

  • George Greene says:

    February 8, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Remember, facts don’t matter much. An unrestricted free market is essentially a religious belief among Republicans and anything to the contrary is heresy.

    Witness the uproar (manufactured by Karl Rove) about Clint Eastwood (a libertarian BTW). The facts of the matter are that while right wing ideologues were clamoring to “Let Detroit go Bankrupt” ( the stimulus saved the American auto industry -and millions of jobs (and most of it’s payed back).

    Now Clint might not have realized that acknowledging that reality was rank heresy but Rove and every other half baked fact free right wing pundit has their hair on freakin’ fire about it. How dare anyone challenge the holy word?

    Climate change, creationism, same thing -facts simply do not matter -but because they know they need to appear to have facts they either pay some shills to gin some up or simply deny reality. Dick Cheney is still running around saying Saddam was behind 9/11 and that those WMDs are out there, somewhere…

    We don’t need to waste our time sparring zealots, our time is better spent with those who have a chance at seeing how trickle down just about killed the middle class and how the GOP intends to see that process continues.

  • Mike Downing says:

    February 8, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    And Paul Krugman is trustworthy?! Now that is truly laughable!

  • KJC says:

    February 9, 2012 at 9:34 am

    He has a NOBEL for economics.

  • Mike Downing says:

    February 9, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    And Obama has one for “Peace” before he did anything…. Obama’s, Krugman’s & Kerry’s are indicative of Norway politicians taking over the once noble Nobel prizes.

  • KJC says:

    February 10, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Well Mike, a whole day has now gone by.. a lively policy discussion was killed off by your ugly comments. 
    Why did you interject Senator Kerry and President Obama into this discussion about MN business?  I find your negative comments about their accomplishments, and the Nobel committee, not credible.
    Krugman, Kerry and Obama do have one other thing in common, besides being highly accomplished: they are Democrats.  And that is why you suddenly interjected their names, so you could show your derision, isn’t it?
    Mike, if you had said: “I don’t like Krugman and other Democrats such as Kerry and Obama… and I’m never going to say anything good about them, no matter what they accomplish.”  That would at least be honest, so while I wouldn’t like it, it would be a “pass” with me.
    But you didn’t “own” your real position, instead you put up a big pretense that things like Nobel Prizes and Purple Hearts mean nothing.  That’s malicious, and I’m not going to stand for it. 
    I request you apologize to our e-group, and also promise that you won’t do this again.  If that is not forthcoming, I request that the moderator exclude any posts that are like this, ones that are purely malicious in nature, and serve no constructive purpose to our topic.
    It’s up to you.