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Supporting Agriculture through Trade

Posted on March 09, 2012 at 1:34 PM
Categories: Agriculture, Economy

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.


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This Week: Real Progress Towards Jobs

Posted on March 04, 2012 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Jobs, Economy, Transportation

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. 


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State Job Vacancies Up 47.6 Percent in Fourth Quarter

Posted on February 28, 2012 at 1:00 PM
Categories: Jobs, Economy

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.”


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Governor Dayton’s State of the State Address

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 3:40 PM
Categories: Jobs, Economy, Education, Bonding

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“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.


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St. Anthony: New commerce commissioner beefing up the agency

Posted on February 13, 2012 at 10:32 AM
Categories: Commerce, Economy

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."


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Myron Frans: Minnesota's business climate is strong despite misleading 'tax index'

Posted on February 10, 2012 at 9:05 AM
Categories: Economy, Commerce, Jobs

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.


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‘All Hands on Deck’ for Minnesota Jobs

Posted on February 09, 2012 at 1:45 PM
Categories: Jobs, Economy

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. 


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Star Tribune Editorial: Dayton's first-year marks are high

Posted on January 03, 2012 at 5:40 PM
Categories: Jobs, Economy

Through 35 years of public life, Mark Dayton has shown little inclination to rest on laurels. That's reassuring, because Dayton is bound to hear a good deal of praise as he completes his first year as governor on Tuesday.
 
Dayton's term is only a quarter spent. Much that he set out to do remains undone. A 20-day government shutdown last July is a permanent blot on the records of both Dayton and the 2011 Legislature. The temporary fiscal measures used to end the shutdown do none of them credit.
 
But the DFL governor's overall performance to date has been strong enough to win over skeptics, rally support from unexpected sources and earn the grudging respect of partisan opponents. He has turned his political slogan -- "Building a Better Minnesota" -- into a credible description of not just intentions, but accomplishments.

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Building a Better Minnesota

Posted on December 21, 2011 at 10:56 AM
Categories: Economy, Jobs, Health, Education, Transportation

A year into Governor Mark Dayton’s first term, Minnesotans are seeing the value of a Governor who is committed to putting people back to work, protecting middle-class taxpayers and changing the way government does business.  Governor Dayton has made significant progress towards these goals by engaging the ideas of legislators from both parties, our state’s businesses, and most importantly, the people of Minnesota.
 
When he was inaugurated, Governor Dayton said that the way to get Minnesota working again was by working together.  His first year in office has proven that to be true.  Our state is recovering from tough times, but with Governor Dayton’s direction our state agencies continue to do more with less.  The Governor has been relentlessly committed to creating more jobs here in our state, and creating the kind of environment where private businesses can thrive.

“Let us dedicate ourselves to rebuilding a successful state, one that again is the envy of the nation, a leader of the world. Let it be written that we were Minnesotans who led the way to something better than before, who created something greater than ourselves, who achieved together what none of us could have accomplished on our own.”
- Governor Mark Dayton, January 3, 2011

Getting Minnesota Back to Work

- Under the Governor’s leadership Minnesota continues to outpace the national economic recovery.  Minnesota’s unemployment rate is 5.9 percent, compared to 8.6 percent for the rest of the country.  There are 53,000 more Minnesotans at work now, compared to the bottom of the recession. 

- Governor Dayton worked to pass a $500 million bonding bill, putting thousands of Minnesotans back to work improving bridges, roads and infrastructure.


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Rothman: Thousands of low-income households now warmer, more energy efficient

Posted on December 16, 2011 at 7:50 AM
Categories: Economy, Environment

By Mike Rothman, Commissioner
Minnesota Department of Commerce
 
 
As winter settles over Minnesota, more than 18,200 low-income households across our state are a little warmer, and a lot more energy efficient. That’s thanks to an effective partnership between the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources (DER), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and our local partners across Minnesota.
 
More than $132 million in federal funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) gave Minnesota’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) a big boost in 2009. Working together, we used that limited one-time funding to produce permanent energy savings for thousands of senior citizens (7,490), disabled Minnesotans (5,770), and low-income families with children (22,200).
 
Initially, Minnesota set a goal of weatherizing 17,000 low-income households by March 2012. We were one of the first states in the nation to meet our goal; in fact exceeding that goal several months ago. Now, with $7 million and less than 4 months left, the State of Minnesota is well its way to serving a total of 19,000 to 20,000 households by this spring, stretching every dollar to provide the maximum benefit to Minnesota families, our environment, and our economy.
 
Yesterday, Governor Mark Dayton and U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu highlighted the nation-leading work Minnesota has been doing to make money- and energy-saving investments in the homes and lives of low-income families. Governor Dayton pointed out in particular how important this program has been at a time when Minnesota families are struggling – not only to pay their utility bills, but to find jobs in a difficult economy.

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