Jobs & Wages

Minnesota’s Love Affair with Ethanol

Remember the last time you filled up your car at the pump. Did you notice the signage about ethanol? Even if you didn’t, you added to a segment of the Minnesota economy worth over $5 billion, and supported over 12,000 Minnesota jobs in the industry. That ethanol in your gas tank will also contribute less…

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Corporate Tax Cuts Increase Income Inequality

North Star would like to thank Professor Louis Johnston of the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University for critiquing earlier drafts of this article.   Conservatives typically argue that the benefit of corporate tax cuts will trickle down to workers in the form of higher wages. New research published this month indicate that workers do…

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Petroleum Refining in Minnesota

In the aftermath of a fire at the Husky Energy Superior Refinery in Superior, WI, petroleum refining has been in the news recently, with most of the focus on the safety of Minnesota refineries. There are two petroleum refineries in Minnesota and a handful of major pipelines that cross the state from oil-producing regions to…

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Debunking Minnesota Economic and Fiscal Policy Myths

Minnesota is a land of 10,000 lakes and almost as many misconceptions about the size of government, growth in public revenue and expenditures, and performance of the state’s economy. Some of these mistaken beliefs are the result of an innocent misreading of the data, while others are the product of deliberate disinformation campaigns. The following…

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How Wind Benefits Minnesotans

Minnesota has been a leader in wind energy generation in the United States over the last two decades. Minnesotans adopted the technology relatively early. In 2017 Minnesota produced the 8th-most in the nation in net generation from wind energy. The wind energy industry provides thousands of good jobs to Minnesotans, cheaper electricity to millions of…

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No Pension, No Security: Abandoning Defined Benefits is Both an Over Reaction and Bad Public Policy

Note: This article first appeared in Citizens League Voice magazine. Remember the Chicken Little fable? Just like the chicken who believed the world was coming to an end, some politicians and researchers are provoking unreasonable fear about the health of Minnesota’s public pension funds. Teachers and government workers have deferred their wages for a guaranteed…

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Nuclear Power in Minnesota

Two nuclear stations in Minnesota, Monticello and Prairie Island, produced 23% of the state’s energy last year. Both were built in the 1970s. Between the three reactors at the two plants, they have a maximum capacity of 1,594 megawatts (MW)—enough to power more well more than a million homes. For those curious about how they…

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What Coal Plant Closures Mean for Minnesotans

In the last few years, several coal plants in Minnesota have either shut down their boilers, idled them, or converted them to another fuel source. These closures have followed national and international trends, where coal-fired electricity loses on cost to natural gas and renewables. What economic impacts will Minnesotans feel? The Becker, MN Sherburne County…

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Minnesota Still Outperforming “Right to Work” Wisconsin

For most of the last decade, earnings in Minnesota and Wisconsin grew at a similar pace—until 2015. In that year, Wisconsin adopted its so-called “right to work” (RTW) law. Since then, earnings growth in Wisconsin slowed relative to Minnesota. In 2017, the average hourly earnings gap between Minnesota and Wisconsin was 42% greater than it…

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