The Big Story Blog

Is Minnesota's business climate really that bad?

Posted at 6:20 AM on December 29, 2011 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Economy, Jobs and unemployment, Taxes

When some business people and lawmakers talk about Minnesota's business climate, the refrain is often: too many taxes, too much regulation and other states are eating our lunch.

Rochester Sen. Dave Senjem, Minnesota's new Senate Republican leader, made similar points Wednesday on MPR News. Jobs and the economy would be the Republicans' top priority in the coming legislative session, he said.

I keep coming back to this one, when youre about 43rd or 44th best in the country in terms of business climate, you know you've got some work to do....it's no secret we're among the most highly taxed states in the country.
But is it really that cut and dried? No.

The reality is there are lots of ways to slice data on business success and climate and in some ways the state is among the best in the nation and more than competitive with our neighbors.

It's true that Minnesota ranks 43rd in a state business tax climate ranking by the Tax Foundation.

It's also true that business taxes as a percentage of all goods and service produced here, are lower in Minnesota's than Wisconsin, North Dakota and the United States and run about the same as South Dakota.

Beyond taxes, Minnesota always does well in rankings on education, quality of life, available workforce and other pieces of the economic puzzle vitally important to business.

What's the best way to look at Minnesota's business climate? Share some thoughts with us. We'll be looking at data and talking to business executive in the MPR News Public Insight Network.


About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.