The Minnesota GOP is about to initiate “reforms 2.0″ to get Minnesota back on track to greatness. Self described reforms guru Rep. Keith Downey (Edina) said, “The advice was to quit spending money you don’t have – separate your needs from your wants.” The problem is in the underlying definition of needs and wants. The Republicans in the GOP are laser focused on lowering business expenses at the expense of every day Minnesotans.
Kurt Zellars, Speaker of the Minnesota House, has declared war on South Dakota. Zellers wants the low taxes and low regulations of South Dakota. What is more troubling, is Zellars wants the low wages of South Dakota as well. You see, in Republican eyes, the biggest problem with Minnesota is not quality of life for the average family. In Republican eyes, the biggest problem with Minnesota is that there is not enough wealth concentrated at the top.
So, what is wrong with Minnesota that we need to race to become South Dakota? What is wrong with Minnesota so that we have to sprint to become Michigan (Detroit)? The Republicans will contend that our biggest problem is we just need to be more like South Dakota and Michigan.
I don’t think we should be in such a hurry to emulate our neighbors to the East and West. Recently, Money Magazine came out with the top 100 places to live in America. Minnesota has five towns in the top 100 places to live in the whole country. Low tax South Dakota, North Dakota, and Michigan have a combined zero towns in the top 100. That’s right. Zero. So what are we going to war over? Why are we so envious of our neighbors? Do we really want to be like them?
So, we have a great state for people. We have a great state for the average citizen. This would indicate we might want to tweak and refine but continue our history of support for a strong society. The beautiful thing is we don’t even need to throw the average citizen under the bus in our “war” for business. The well respected business journal Forbes has ranked the best states for business. Minnesota is already a very respectable 15th best state for business. What’s more, we are not far behind North Dakota at 11th. We are ahead of South Dakota who come in at 17th. Wisconsin is 43rd and Michigan is 48th!
So, are we willing to risk the incredible quality of life of Minnesota in pursuit of becoming South Dakota or Michigan? This reckless pursuit of low wage jobs and irresponsible de-regulation threatens our way of life. What is the reward for this gambit? Possibly a better business climate, but most likely a lower quality of life and a worse business climate. Not willing to risk it all for non-existent payoff for the average Minnesotan.
(Tangential observation: As someone who as been in a real live war, we are not at war with our neighbors to the East and West. Not even in a metaphorical, or figurative sense.)