An annual CNBC scorecard that rates each state on 60 measures of competitiveness finds that Democratic run Minnesota is the best state in the country for business in 2015. The same study found that while Republican-controlled states like Kansas and Arizona experienced sharp declines in their business competitiveness, Minnesota Democratic Governor Mark Dayton’s economic miracle has turned his state into the nation’s best state for businesses.
When Mark Dayton took office in 2011 he inherited a 6.2 billion dollar deficit from his Republican predecessor, Tim Pawlenty. Four years later, after passing a huge tax increase on wealthy Minnesotans, the state now has over a 2 billion dollar surplus, and one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. Dayton’s Minnesota is the antithesis of Sam Brownback’s failed supply-side experiment in Kansas and Scott Walker’s union busting disaster in Wisconsin.
While the CNBC study acknowledged that Minnesota’s business tax rates were relatively high, they found that other factors like a strong education system and a good quality of life, offset high taxes in making the state more business-friendly than many other states with lower corporate tax rates.
In discussing the scorecard, CNBC’s analysts credited Mark Dayton for Minnesota’s success even though they acknowledged that his approach was not what economists or corporate leaders usually label “business-friendly” policies. The article reads in part:
But Minnesota doesn’t just stumble into the top spot by accident. The state’s path to the top is marked by a carefully crafted and still controversial strategy by Gov. Mark Dayton, the first Democrat to hold the office in two decades. The hallmark of his plan is something most governors seeking to win the hearts of business would never dream of: a big tax increase.
The tax increase on the wealthy worked. By increasing the state’s revenue and putting more money in the pockets of ordinary Minnesotans, Dayton’s economic plan spurred economic growth and reduced unemployment. The healthy economy that came about in the wake of those tax increases not only benefited workers, it also in turn proved good for business.
At some point supply-side loyalists will have to stop ignoring Minnesota’s economic success, and come to terms with the fact that the best place to do business in America isn’t where the taxes on the rich have been cut , but rather where they have been raised.
Minnesota is a shining example of how Democratic policies can help everyone prosper. Now if only the rest of America would start paying attention, instead of continuing to be hoodwinked by the empty promises of the GOP’s trickle down fantasies, that more often than not, bring about economic failure in practice.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.