Jobs & Wages

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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Minnesota Job Growth Is Strong, Considering Its Low Unemployment

Minnesota job growth has been fairly healthy in recent years, relative to the rest of the nation and neighboring states. Last month, a North Star article showed that Minnesota has surpassed the national average on multiple economic indicators—including job growth—during the current business cycle (i.e., since 2007). A recent Economic Policy Institute (EPI) report also…

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Holy Biomass, Batman!

Have you ever wondered where your garbage goes when it gets picked up from the curb? It might return to your home through the powerlines. Minnesotans burn wood chips, livestock waste, garbage, landfill gas, and more for electricity and heat. This diverse industry impacts every corner of the state in some shape or form—and controversy…

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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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