Legislators challenge Wisconsin's bus...

Legislators challenge Wisconsin's business-climate claims

Posted in the Minneapolis Forum

Harry Callahan

Minneapolis, MN

#1 Sep 1, 2013
A House committee heard testimony Thursday that Minnesota is winning the battle for businesses and jobs with Wisconsin despite the divergent paths the two states have taken in recent years.

Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, called the meeting of the House Commerce and Consumer Protection committee, which he chairs, in part to look into claims by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker that his state is in a stronger position to attract businesses than Minnesota.

"The objective data shows that frankly Minnesota is kicking butt relative to Wisconsin on everything from employment and job creation to school test scores, educated work force and a host of other factors and rankings," Atkins said after the hearing. "I understand the desire to promote one's state, but he's full of baloney when it comes to saying that Wisconsin is a better place to put your business than Minnesota."

The committee heard a presentation from Myles Shaver, professor of strategic management at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management, about Minnesota's historic strength in hosting headquarters for major U.S. corporations. Shaver's presentation said Minnesota tends to "grow companies" rather than lure them from other states.

As of 2011, Shaver said, Minnesota's 20 Fortune 500 headquarters -- including Target, UnitedHealth Group, 3M and General Mills -- rank eighth in the nation, his presentation said. When adjusted for population, Minnesota comes out on top.

The committee also prepared a listing of measures of economic performance in which Minnesota has outperformed Wisconsin, including job growth since 2010, when GOP Gov. Walker and Minnesota's DFL governor, Mark Dayton, were elected. In measures of median household income, state economic growth and unemployment rate, Minnesota comes out ahead, according to the committee's analysis.

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