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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Leon Lillie (DFL)

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Border Battle: Minnesota's Economy Besting Badger State

Thursday, August 15, 2013

It seems these days that the only thing Minnesota has in common with neighboring Wisconsin is our common border.

Despite our close proximity, each state appears to be heading in remarkably different directions.

Under Republican leadership, the Badger State’s economy is struggling. Here in Minnesota, things are looking much better.

For example, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently ranked Wisconsin 44th in overall economic performance, while Minnesota ranks 15th. In addition, the Chamber ranked Wisconsin dead last of all 50 states in short-term job growth, while Minnesota ranks 18th.

Need more proof? Look no further than each state’s unemployment rate. At 7.1 percent, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate shows that the state is struggling to put people back to work. Here in the Gopher State, we stand at 5.2 percent—well below the national rate of 7.4 percent.

The drastically different unemployment rates make sense when you look at the number of jobs created in each state over the past few years.

Since taking office in January 2011, Governor Scott Walker’s state has added 62,000 jobs. Minnesota has added over 100,000 during the same time frame. In addition, the U.S. Commerce Department has found that Minnesota had the fifth-fastest growing economy in the nation in 2012 thanks to a 3.5 percent increase in our gross domestic product. Wisconsin’s economy, however, grew by just 1.45 percent.

Thanks to the DFL’s new investments in priorities like education, property tax relief, and economic development, Minnesota is sure to continue besting the Badger State’s economy for years to come.


Leon Lillie is a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party representing District 43B. He is currently serving his fifth term.