Jobs & Wages

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Minnesota has a reputation as a great place to call home. In national rankings of quality of life, job quality, child wellbeing, and cost of living we look pretty attractive. Among the competitive advantages of Minnesota is that historically we have been an affordable place to find a home. However, across the state communities that…

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Counterpoint: Progressive policies in Minnesota are working for workers

(Note: this commentary was published by the Star Tribune on July 26, 2018.) As corporate profits soar, working people are rightly demanding fair wages, thereby inciting the ire and criticism of both conservative policymakers and academics. A recent column (“Higher wage is hurting those it’s supposed to help,” July 23) claimed that Minnesota’s higher minimum wage…

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Income Tax Hikes Have Not Stifled Job, Income Growth

Conservatives frequently argue that tax increases stifle job growth. In reality, data from 1950 to the present show no indication that Minnesota income tax increases have had any adverse impact on job creation or income growth. In fact, Minnesota’s rate of job and income growth has tended be greatest following state income tax increases and…

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New Report: Minnesota’s Construction Industry Pulls Ahead of Wisconsin’s

A new report by North Star Policy Institute finds that Minnesota’s construction industry has pulled ahead of Wisconsin’s since the Great Recession, fueled by a strong recovery that has boosted both employment and average worker pay. Minnesota surpassed Wisconsin in total construction employment, while construction industry wage growth in Minnesota has far outpaced that of…

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North Star testimony at PUC Hearing on proposed Bitter Root wind farm

Note: below are my comments delivered at a recent public hearing hosted by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in Canby, MN on the proposed Bitter Root wind farm project, with further content added for submittal to the PUC on July 18. —————————– Your Honor, interested parties, and community members: thank you for the opportunity…

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Minnesota Passes Wisconsin in Total Jobs

Total 2017 employment in Minnesota eclipsed that of Wisconsin for the first time in history,* despite having over 200,000 fewer people. Just ten years ago, Minnesota had 93,000 fewer jobs than Wisconsin. The Gopher State now has 6,200 more jobs, according to the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW).† In light of recent trends…

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Guest Commentary: How the Labor Movement Can Thrive After Janus

In an historic blow to working class people and their organizations, the United States Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 last week, overturning Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, the landmark 1977 case giving public sector unions the right to collect agency, or “fair share,” fees from non-members. The…

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A Tale of Two Wind Farms

On Thursday, June 28 at 6:00 pm, Minnesotans will attend two simultaneous public hearings on proposed wind energy projects in the Southwest Minnesota communities of Canby and Hendricks. The scheduling of two wind farm hearings at the exact same date and time, just 20 miles apart, speaks to the tremendous wind energy growth that is…

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Myths of the 2017 Federal Tax Act

The “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (TCJA)—the massive federal tax cut passed in December 2017—has failed to produce the benefits touted by its promoters. And if history is any indicator, there is no reason to believe things will change in the future. The following debunks several often-touted claims made by TCJA backers. Myth #1: The…

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Catching the Wind: New report examines the impact of local vs. non-local hiring practices on construction of Minnesota wind farms

A new report published by North Star Policy Institute finds that hundreds of new family-supporting jobs and tens of millions of dollars in economic activity are at stake for Southern Minnesota communities based on imminent hiring decisions by wind energy companies and whether new projects are built by local or non-local workers. Minnesota’s wind energy economy…

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