Governor Mark Dayton has issued a proclamation declaring April as Financial Literacy Month in Minnesota. Financial Literacy Month kicks off an unprecedented statewide outreach effort organized by the state’s newly founded ‘Interagency Work Group on Financial Literacy.’ Over the next four weeks, the work group will be coordinating nearly 40 outreach events, such as educational workgroups, financial trainings, and homeownership forums for Minnesota students, soldiers, families, and senior citizens.
Governor Dayton noted in his proclamation that, “Providing all Minnesotans the tools to make informed choices and avoid pitfalls helps improve their financial security.”
A new report issued by the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) showed that Minnesota employers added 6,200 jobs to the state economy in February, marking three consecutive months of job growth in Minnesota. This is an important milestone in Minnesota’s economic recovery. The state has already regained half the jobs it lost during the recession.
Education and Health Services was the leading sector in job creation, adding 5,100 jobs last month. Other areas posting strong job growth include the Government and Leisure and Hospitality sectors. "The labor market recovery appears to be gaining steam, with three consecutive months of strong job growth," said DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips. "The state has now recovered 81,400 jobs since the recession."
Last week Governor Mark Dayton signed legislation that will remove a trade barrier currently in place for Minnesota agricultural businesses looking to export commercial feed to Brazil. This piece of legislation will allow Minnesota companies to remain competitive in the global export market while at the same time recognize the importance of good manufacturing standards.
Recently imposed import regulations set in Brazil require companies that send feed to the country to provide a certificate of Good Manufacturing Practices compliance, yet this certificate is not expected to be implemented for several months. Without a process for providing the certificate required by Brazil, Minnesota companies would be unable to supply feed to that large and growing market. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the state legislators worked together to pass House File (HF) 1926 that would create a temporary process for issuing a state certificate of Good Manufacturing Practices for Minnesota companies that produce commercial feed.
This week, we saw the real results that can be achieved by a Governor who has an unwavering commitment to putting Minnesotans back to work. This week was full of encouraging developments for Minnesotans who are looking for work, in large part to the efforts of Governor Dayton and his administration.
On Tuesday, we found out that there are nearly 50,000 vacant jobs in our state, an increase of almost 50% from this time last year. While there is still work to be done to ensure that our workforce has the skills they need to fill those jobs, the most recent job vacancy survey released by DEED this week is reason to be hopeful.
On Wednesday and Thursday, the legislature finally held hearings on the Governor’s jobs proposals. His tax credit for hiring unemployed Minnesotans, veterans and recent graduates would put up to 10,000 people back to work by providing tax incentives to businesses. The Governor’s proposed expansion of FastTRAC was also heard. Expanding FastTRAC statewide will be crucial in ensuring that our state’s workers have the skills they need to fill the jobs that are available now and in the future.
ST. PAUL – Job vacancies in Minnesota climbed 47.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 compared with the same period a year earlier, according to figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Employers reported 49,900 openings during the quarter, compared with 33,800 openings one year earlier.
The agency’s Job Vacancy Survey – conducted twice annually in the second and fourth quarters – also found that the state had 3.2 unemployed people for each vacancy during the quarter, compared with 5.8 unemployed people for each vacancy one year earlier.
“These figures add to the mounting evidence of an improving job market in Minnesota,” said DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips. “While the labor market is still tight for workers in certain sectors, overall openings statewide have nearly doubled since 2009.”
“I am hopeful, because I believe in Minnesota. I believe in Minnesotans.”
Governor Mark Dayton – February 15, 2012
Last night, Governor Mark Dayton delivered his State of the State address to a joint session of the Minnesota Legislature at the Minnesota State Capitol. By stressing the need to make key investments to get Minnesota working again, Governor Dayton outlined a clear vision for future prosperity in Minnesota: investing in jobs, investing in stronger education, and reform of government services.
The Governor called on business leaders and legislators to work with him to invest in more jobs in Minnesota. “They must be our No. 1 priority. So I say to legislators, let’s take your best ideas and my best ideas and turn them into jobs, and let’s do it now.” He urged the legislature to pass a combination of his bonding proposals, “Jobs Now” tax credits, and the Vikings stadium to put tens of thousands of Minnesotans back to work.
The Governor also stressed the reforms that have been made in education over the last year. In 2011, the Governor expanded Early Childhood Education, a step which helped to win Minnesota a federal Race to the top award. This year, Minnesota was one of only 10 states to earn a waiver from the failed No Child Left Behind law. The Governor acknowledged these successes and then challenged legislators to develop education initiatives in cooperation with educators. He challenged educators to prepare their students for jobs of the future.
Article by: Columnist Neal St. Anthony
Published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on February 12, 2012 at 6:22 p.m.
Mild-mannered Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman, described by Republican and Democratic predecessors as a good listener, has put the teeth back into the agency.
Rothman, a business lawyer by trade, was hired by Gov. Mark Dayton a year ago with a mandate to step up consumer protection, enforcement and financial literacy initiatives at an agency that was perceived as less-than-aggressive under Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Since Rothman took over, several deputies who oversaw insurance, enforcement and banking have retired or left.
Former Commerce Commissioner Glenn Wilson, a career mortgage banker, has disputed that the agency was slow to respond to the mortgage meltdown that brought the nation's economy to its knees in 2008. Regardless, the pace of investigations, enforcement actions and the agency's profile have picked up under Rothman.
"I sensed an opportunity to reorganize and emphasize some things that could be done better," said Rothman. "We're responsible for protecting the public. We also want to make sure that business has an opportunity to succeed. There's a balance there. There are some bad actors out there. But the overwhelming number of Minnesota companies, 99 percent, are good citizens."
Op/Ed by Minnesota Commissioner of Revenue Myron Frans
Published in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on February 9, 2012 at 5:56 p.m.
By most conventional measures of economic prosperity, Minnesota is outperforming other states. Yet a recent Pioneer Press editorial, promoting the findings of a flawed tax index, says otherwise - hardly the best way to position our state for more growth.
First, the facts: Minnesota has the nation's 10th-highest per-capita personal income, 7th-lowest unemployment rate, 13th-lowest business failure rate, and 8th-lowest poverty rate. We have regained more than 33 percent of jobs lost in the recession (compared with 25 percent nationwide). In 2011, total wages in the state increased four times as much as in the rest of the country.
Despite the economic reality in the state, the Tax Foundation's "State Business Tax Climate Index" claims that Minnesota is bad for business ("Minnesota takes a licking on tax climate," Feb. 7). This is misleading, and biased.
The index is focused only on tax rates, without documenting the real-world effects or considering what Minnesotans and businesses in the state actually pay. For example:
It knocks Minnesota for having a sales tax on manufacturing equipment, but does not acknowledge that taxpayers receive tax credits (refunds) that cover these costs.
It criticizes Minnesota's research and development credit and Angel Investment Credit, even though they are important priorities for businesses in the state.
It is biased against states with multiple income tax brackets, even though there is no evidence that multiple brackets are a detriment to business growth.
The index ignores the benefits provided by public investment when assessing our business climate - yet it is those public investments that draw employers to Minnesota. As state economist Tom Stinson has noted, our taxes have bought something for businesses - like productive workers, research, high-quality transportation and other business services.
Governor Mark Dayton knows that Building a Better Minnesota means our workers must have the skills and training to fill the jobs of the 21st century. That’s why Governor Dayton has made job creation and workforce development his top priority for the legislative session.
Today the Governor attended a meeting of the Governor’s Workforce Development Council (GWDC) to hear a presentation on their yearly report. The Council serves an important role in workforce development, providing analysis and recommending policies to improve workforce readiness.
The report, entitled “All Hands on Deck: Sixteen Recommendations for Strengthening Minnesota’s Workforce,” offers recommendations to improve worker training, skill development, and education. Many of the report recommendations mirror proposals laid out by the Governor and DFL legislators last month.