Monday, March 16, 2015

Economically, Minnesota wins; Wisconsin loses

MN Gov. Mark Dayton (via Huffigton Post).
A couple of years ago, I posted about the political turmoil in the sister states of Minnesota and Wisconsin.  As a progressive Minnesotan who voted for Gov. Mark Dayton, it's satisfying today to read Randi Weingarten's article titled A Tale of Two States. Weingarten describes the current contrast between Minnesota's prosperous economy, thriving under Dayton's leadership, and Wisconsin's growing deficit under the leadership of the union-busting Scott Walker.

Weingarten writes:

It's a tale of two states.

They sit side by side, each taking in the views of Lake Superior. Their economies both grew from foundations in manufacturing, farming and mining, and they each boast a strong history of organized labor. And in 2010, still reeling from the recession, they elected new governors.
Those two governors took these two states -- Minnesota and Wisconsin -- down two very different paths. Today, Minnesota's unemployment rate is 3.6 percent -- far below the nationwide rate of 5.7 percent - while Wisconsin's job growth has been among the worst in the region and its income growth has been among the worst in the nation.

Since his election, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton turned his state's budget deficit into a projected surplus of nearly $2 billion. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has swollen his state's budget deficit to a projected $2 billion. Meanwhile, Dayton has boosted the minimum wage, invested in public education and supported workers' rights. (And Minnesota has the most union members of any state in the Midwest.)
Trickle-down economics doesn't work and frankly, it never has. If we want to restore a healthy middle class, we need a different approach.
And Walker? He has slashed funding to public schools, and is dismantling the state's public university system. On March 9, he signed a bill that makes Wisconsin the 25th so-called right to work state, which, research shows, contrary to the hype, drives down wages and destroys good jobs. Why? All in an effort to eviscerate Wisconsin's labor unions.

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