Last Friday, I dug into some economic comparisons between Minnesota and Wisconsin. Data showed Minnesota performed better than Wisconsin during the Great Recession and has greater strength in the recovery.
One reader, though, suggested that the recession and post-recession years were too small a data sample to declare Minnesota the economic winner. So I went back looking for some long term comparisons on the economies of both.
Well, from 1980 to 2000, the two states were neck-and-neck in key economic indicators. But then something happened in 2000. Wisconsin tailed off compared to Minnesota and the rest of the U.S. and has continued to lose ground.
Here's a look at the the coincident index for Minnesota, Wisconsin and the U.S. from 1980 through 2012 (click on the chart for a larger view).
The index, produced by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, is a good apples-to-apples comparison, combing four indicators (nonfarm payroll employment, average hours worked in manufacturing, the unemployment rate, and inflated-adjusted wages) into a single statistic.
For 20 years, both states saw nearly identical growth in the index -- no matter which political party was in charge.
In those years, Wisconsin was led by two Republican governors (Lee Dreyfus and Tommy Thompson) with a Democrat (Anthony Earl) sandwiched in between. Minnesota was led by two Republicans (Al Quie, Arne Carlson), a DFLer (Rudy Perpich) and Jesse Ventura, Independence Party.
Wisconsin, though, started slow in 2000 and the index shows a downturn in the 2001 recession that had little effect in Minnesota. Wisconsin stumbled in the first few years of that decade while Minnesota took off again.
Here's a chart with the economic index for Minnesota and Wisconsin since 2000:
In that period, Wisconsin had three GOP governors (Thompson, Scott McCallum and Scott Walker) and one Democrat (Jim Doyle). Minnesota had Ventura, the independent, one Republican (Tim Pawlenty) and one Democrat, current governor Mark Dayton.
As I said in the last post, the data don't end the discussion about taxes and spending or the effects of fiscal policy on business decisions.
But looking at the data, I'm wondering: How much does fiscal policy really matter to a state's economy? And what's happened to Wisconsin?1 Comments)
A full day of politics and policy starts at 9 a.m. when Speaker of the House Paul Thissen and House Minority Leader Rep. Kurt Daudt talk through the governor's tax and budget plans on MPR News.
Day-care deaths prompt new safety measures (Star Tribune)
"State regulators will propose new safety measures, including stiffer penalties and online access to more licensing records, to try and reverse the sharp rise in child deaths across Minnesota's in-home day-care system."
Panel backs state employee contracts over GOP objections (MPR News)
A two percent across-the-board pay hike for state employees is one step closer to reality. DFLers, in control of the Legislature, are expected to ratify the contracts this year over GOP complaints the pay hikes are too broad.
Dayton sales tax plan a boon for some cities (Associated Press)
"About two dozen Minnesota cities and counties whose sales taxes piggyback on the state's would see a gusher of new money if Gov. Dayton's proposed sales tax expansion prevails."
Senators seek to close 'little cigar' loophole (Star Tribune)
Lawmakers unveil bills "to close what they say is a loophole in state laws that allows these tobacco products to be sold at lower prices, and to be flavored, making them appeal to younger smokers."
Expect three days of gun law hearings next week ( MPR News)
House Public Safety Finance Committee will focus on gun issues, including restrictions on high capacity ammunition magazines, banning assault-style weapons and whether teachers should carry guns in school.
Rukavina joining U.S. Rep. Nolan's staff (Duluth News-Tribune)
Tom Rukavina, the longtime Iron Range state lawmaker, has agreed to go to work for newly elected U.S. Rep Rick Nolan as a paid "district liaison" who will focus on mining, timber, tourism and other Iron Range issues.
Congress faces deep resistance to immigration plan (New York Times)
Debt ceiling fix could last until August (Politico)
Gov. Dayton's budget plan will be heard in the House and Senate tax committees today. The plan has received tons of scrutiny from Republicans who don't like the proposed tax hikes.
Democrats, however, have been walking a fine line when it comes to the plan. They're reluctant to fully embrace it but also don't want to trash a plan put forward by a member of their own party.
We'll see if any hop off of the fence they're sitting on during today's hearings. - Tom Scheck
Where's the bonding bill?
Gov. Dayton's budget includes a measure that would allow for a $500 million bonding bill this year. Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, says she intends to introduce a "more robust" bill by Feb. 10.
Dayton says he'll propose a bonding bill that will address the State Capitol renovation and fund other public works projects but won't release his recommendations until after the February forecast. - Tom Scheck
Same-sex marriage supporters hire lobbying team
Minnesotans United for All Families has hired several lobbyists to advocate their cause at the State Capitol. Lobbyists for Messerli and Kramer have filed to lobby to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota.
Cristine Almeida, Ann Kaner-Roth, Larry Redmond and Jill Sletten have also filed paperwork to lobby for the group. -- Tom Scheck
A week after DFL Gov. Mark Dayton unveiled his budget proposal, Republicans legislators were turning up the heat on his plan to provide $500 property tax rebates to all homeowners.
One lawmaker suggested during a Senate tax committee hearing today that the proposal might be more about Dayton's 2014 re-election campaign than it is about making good tax policy. Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, told Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans that she didn't understand why the governor would raise other taxes in order to buy down property taxes.
"I can't imagine why we would take sales tax dollars out of the pockets of middle income and poor Minnesotans just to write a check to property owners in the state of Minnesota," Ortman said. "I don't know why we would do that unless it looked like --forgive me for being cynical -- a re-election plan."
Commissioner Frans defended the proposal, saying it was a response to Minnesotans' complaints that property taxes are too high.
Later in the day, Gov. Dayton was also defending his plan. He also accused Republicans of not understanding the issue.
"If someone has got a better idea or another step forward, let's do that," Dayton said. "But if people just want to sit back and carp, and deny people a $500 property tax rebate, they're sure not in touch with the people I hear from every day and talk to every day."
DFL leaders in the House and Senate also want to provide property tax relief this session, but at least for now they have not embraced the governor's proposal.(0 Comments)
Posted at 3:35 PM on January 29, 2013
by Brett Neely
WASHINGTON - President Obama will be in Minneapolis on Monday, according to White House officials. The purpose of his visit is unclear. The White House said more details would be released "when they become available."
The President was last in Minnesota in June when he attended fundraising events on behalf of his re-election campaign.(0 Comments)