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Minnesota Ranked Among Best States to Own a Small Business

Posted on April 11, 2013 at 12:29 PM
Categories: Commerce, Jobs

"When it comes to how business-friendly an area is, smaller companies care about much more than just taxes." - Governing Magazine

This month, Governing Magazine (one of the most credible sources of nonpartisan news and policy analysis covering state and local governments) reported the results of a new survey conducted by and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation ranking the Most (and Least) Small Business-Friendly States in the country. 
According to the survey, Minnesota ranked 11th in the nation for overall business friendliness, confirming our state remains one of the best places in the United States to start, own, and expand a small business.
According to Governing Magazine:
“When it comes to how business-friendly an area is, smaller companies care about much more than just taxes...Training and networking programs were found to be the best predictor of overall scores, followed by a state’s economy and licensing requirements.
“In fact, the majority of businesses surveyed didn’t think their taxes were unfairly high. The larger the business, though, the more negatively it perceived its taxes.
“When a small business owner decides where to set up shop, they’re most likely to choose where they already reside. For this reason, taxes typically aren’t their chief concern initially, said Katie McConnell, a senior associate with the National League of Cities’ Center for Research and Innovation.”
Neighboring Wisconsin ranked 17th for overall business friendliness, and Iowa ranked 21st. In addition to being ranked the 11th best state to own a small business, Minnesota received an A- grade for overall business friendliness, which was a marked improvement from the B grade Minnesota received in 2012.
You can read more about the survey, and how Minnesota’s small business environment compares to other states, on the website. 

Governor Dayton’s Budget Would Make Minnesota’s Economy Stronger

Minnesotans need a strong economy we can depend on for good jobs, living wages, and a strong middle class. That is why Governor Dayton’s budget invests in measures to create jobs, strengthen our infrastructure, and make Minnesota a more competitive place to do business. These investments will yield new jobs, vibrant communities, and additional state and local tax revenues that will far exceed these initial investments.
Investing an Additional $86.5 million in Economic Development
Creating thousands of jobs by leveraging $1.475 billion in private investment.

  • $30 Million for the Minnesota Investment Fund (MIF). The Governor’s budget provides loans to bring new businesses to Minnesota, and help existing businesses expand. This will increase MIF tenfold, create thousands of new jobs, and leverage $800 million in additional investment.
  • $25 Million for the Minnesota Job Creation Fund. The Governor’s budget invests in a new statewide performance-based incentive program for businesses that will create thousands of jobs and leverage $450 million in additional private investment. 
  • $20 Million for the Transportation Economic Development (TED) Program. The Governor’s budget invests in road and bridge improvements that promote economic development. This measure will create thousands of jobs and leverage $35 million in local and private investment.
  • $10 Million for the Housing and Job Growth Initiative. The Governor’s budget invests in affordable housing to support business expansion in Greater Minnesota communities.
  • $1.5 Million for the Global Competitiveness Initiative. The Governor’s budget invests $1.5 million to: 1) establish three new trade offices in foreign markets; 2) help small businesses participate in trade activities; and 3) communicate the benefits of doing business in Minnesota.
  • $4 Million for Forestry. The Governor’s budget increases funding for the forestry program at the Department of Natural Resources.  This will allow the department to harvest more wood, increasing the supply and lowering the price of wood available to companies that produce forest products. 
  • $346.5 million Unemployment Insurance Tax Cut. The Governor’s budget cuts UI taxes by $346.5 million, saving Minnesota employers more money to invest in their businesses and our economy.
  • E-Fairness. The Governor’s budget collects sales tax for online transactions, totaling around $5 million per year, which will level the playing field for businesses that compete with online retailers.


Results Minnesota: Reforming State Government

Posted on December 20, 2012 at 8:30 AM
Categories: Reform, Commerce, Economy, Technology

Governor Dayton, Commissioner Cassellius, and Melissa Schaller, Special Education Director for Intermediate School District #917 compare original TSES and reduced TSES packets.

Two years into his administration, Governor Mark Dayton remains committed to building a better Government for a Better Minnesota.

One important aspect of continuing this progress is improving the value, efficiency, and accountability of state government. Building a better government for Minnesota requires new thinking, and changing the way the state conducts its business. Governor Dayton is focused on using every tax dollar wisely to deliver valuable services that improve the lives of Minnesotans. This includes using new technology to improve efficiency and reduce waste, controlling cost increases, and eliminating programs that don’t work.

In the Spotlight

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has significantly reduced time-consuming, burdensome paperwork for special education teachers and administrators. MDE reduced a 279 page special education manual to just 16 pages – a 94 percent reduction in paperwork.

The manual used to take several teachers and administrators more than 40 hours to complete. But Melissa Schaller, a special education administrator from Rosemount, completed the new manual by herself in less than three hours.

Reducing unnecessary piles of paperwork means administrators and teachers can direct more of their time and attention to students with disabilities.


Results Minnesota: Minnesota Mobility

Posted on December 19, 2012 at 8:40 AM
Categories: Commerce, Transportation, Technology, Outdoors, Economy

Pictured: iPhone Autism App Emergency Scale Screenshot Pictured: An additional photo of the iPhone Autism App

The Autism Help App assists individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other disabilities to communicate and regulate in emergency situations. 

Two years into his administration, Governor Mark Dayton is making important progress toward building a Better Minnesota by working to provide sustainable options to safely move people, goods, services, and information.

The success of Minnesota’s economy depends on a transportation system that safely and efficiently gets people and goods where they need to be. Our roadways, bridges, and rail systems are continuously improving thanks to Governor Dayton’s strong leadership.  In addition to strong physical infrastructure, Minnesota citizens and businesses need affordable access to the high-tech infrastructure that drives our global economy, including high-speed internet in every corner of our state.

In the Spotlight

The Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities (DDC) at the Minnesota Department of Administration has developed a free award winning mobile device application that helps individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) communicate in emergency situations.

Using a proven 5-point, color-coded scale, the Application can be customized for an individual or family.  In an emergency situation, a parent’s calming voice can explain what to do.  For example, in the case of a fire, the App shows a picture of a safe meeting place and the parent’s voice instructs the individual to go there.  The 5-Point Scale was created by Kari Dunn Buron and Mitzi Beth Curtis of Hamline University, which is a nationally known and accepted system, widely used in public schools.

This mobile tool is designed to be simple and user friendly.  To date, more than 16,300 people have downloaded this App.


Commissioner’s Column: Minnesota’s Agricultural Exports Hit a Record

Posted on December 18, 2012 at 10:36 AM
Categories: Agriculture, Trade Mission, Economy, Commerce

 Commissioner Fredrickson
When I became the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture in 2011, I resolved to continue the good work this agency had been doing with regard to international trade. Like other commissioners who came before me, I understood that Minnesota’s farm and food sector needed to expand its visibility and market share in the fast-growing international markets of Asia and Latin America.

Two years in, I am pleased to say that we are making good progress. New figures from the Minnesota Trade Office show Minnesota exports of agricultural, mining and manufactured products reached a record $5.1 billion in the third quarter of 2012. State exports for the third quarter increased by 1 percent compared with the same period from 2011. This marks the eighth straight quarter of record exports in Minnesota. 

MDA’s own economic studies show Minnesota’s agricultural exports hit a record $6.8 billion last year. This is up 13 percent or about $750 million over the previous year. Agriculture is well-established as Minnesota’s second-largest exporting sector, with major markets in China, Mexico, Japan, and Canada. Minnesota now ranks sixth among all states in agricultural exports.


Celebrating the Holiday Season at the Minnesota Governor’s Residence

Posted on November 27, 2012 at 2:13 PM
Categories: Agriculture, Commerce

Holiday's at the Governor's Residence
The Governor's residence will have decked halls from November 27th through December 18th.

The Minnesota Governor’s Residence, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, will be open to the public for Holiday tours beginning November 27th. Following tours will be held December 4, 11 and 18 from the hours of 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. each day.  No reservations are required; tours will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

The interior of the Beaux Arts Revival home, designed by Minneapolis architect William Channing Whitney, has been expertly decorated by seven local design studios. The holiday tour features signature looks for each of the public spaces at the Residence. The designers, from Digs Studio, Kate and Company, Linder’s, Pomegranate Design Ltd, Studio Emme, Ten Thousand Villages and Twiggs, have donated the design, materials and installation of the holiday decorations. In the Drawing Room, the live 8-foot tree was donated by Happyland Tree Farm of Sandstone, Minnesota.


Speak up about the environment next week at Citizen Forums

Posted on November 20, 2012 at 4:44 PM
Categories: Environment, Agriculture, Commerce, Health, Greater Minnesota, Transportation

Minnesota Environmental Congress

On Nov. 27, the regional Citizen Forums on the Environment will begin with forums in Rochester and Bloomington.

The forums are an opportunity for Minnesotans to interact with state agency commissioners and staff, and learn more about Minnesota’s Environment & Energy Report Card. Those attending the forums will be asked to answer key questions and submit more in-depth ideas for consideration.

The State of Minnesota wants to hear what Minnesotans’ priorities and visions are for the environment. The input gathered at the forums will be compiled and presented to the Dayton Administration at a statewide Environmental Congress next March.

Citizen forums:

  • Nov. 27: Wood Lake Meeting Center, Rochester, 9:30 a.m.-12 noon
  • Nov. 27: Normandale Community College, Bloomington, 6:30-9 p.m.
  • Nov. 28: Lake Superior College, Duluth, 5:30-8 p.m.
  • Dec. 10: Worthington High School, 3:30-6 p.m.
  • Dec. 12: Stearns County Service Center, Saint Cloud, 5:30-8 p.m.
  • Dec. 14: Minnesota State University, Moorhead, 3-5:30 p.m.

The Minnesota Environmental Congress and the Citizens Forums leading up to it are the result of Governor Dayton’s Executive Order 11-32. To assess Minnesota’s progress toward clean air, water and energy, the Environmental Quality Board is convening Citizen Forums around the state to engage citizens in constructive dialogue, identify environmental challenges, and define a vision for Minnesota’s environmental future.


Turkey Day at the Minnesota Governor’s Office

Posted on November 20, 2012 at 2:31 PM
Categories: Agriculture, Commerce, Economy

Governor Mark Dayton, Turkey

Today, Governor Dayton, Commissioner of Agriculture Dave Frederickson, Minnesota’s Turkey Growers Association (MTGA), and Hunger Solutions Minnesota, kicked off Thanksgiving week in Minnesota at the Governor’s Office. Minnesota is currently ranked #1 for turkey production in the U.S. with its 250 turkey farmers raising an estimated 47 million turkeys in 2012. Governor Dayton, Minnesota’s turkey farmers, and Hunger Solutions Minnesota also addressed ending hunger across the state.

The event was a time-honored tradition, going back more than two decades.

President and turkey farmer Duane Jaenicke announced the donation of 11,150 pounds of turkey - a total of 1,180 whole birds - to Hunger Solutions Minnesota (HSM), which will be distributed to food shelves and food banks across the state.


Minnesota Fifth Grader Hits a Home Run for Financial Literacy

Posted on August 15, 2012 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Commerce, Education

Quinn Muhich congratulated on the big screen at a Twins game for hitting a homerun for financial literacy


As kids grow into a word of finances and start becoming consumers, it’s important that they learn the importance and of saving money early. That was the thinking that led Governor Mark Dayton, the Minnesota Department of Commerce, and the Minnesota Twins to host the state’s first-ever “Hit a Homerun for Financial Literacy Contest.” The contest encouraged grade 3-5 students from across the state to describe three simple steps they could take to make smart decisions with their money.

This year’s winner was Eveleth fifth grader Quinn Muhich. The three steps described by Muhich in his essay are “wait, save, and give,” which highlight the benefits that smart financial planning can have not just for oneself, but for those in need, as well.

“This contest reminded me that it is always important to think before spending money,” said Quinn. “My family has taught me that

saving money is important so that I can buy something nice with my savings and I can give to those who don’t have as much.”


Minnesota Department of Commerce Unclaimed Property Program Returns $19 Million to Consumers in 2012

Posted on August 09, 2012 at 11:34 AM
Categories: Commerce

As many Minnesotans know, sometimes money can go missing due to a change of address, a death in the family, or a number of other reasons. Fortunately, that’s when the Minnesota Department of Commerce steps in to help Minnesota consumers find and claim what is rightfully theirs. This year alone the Commerce Department reunited 7,200 Minnesotans with $19 million in missing bank accounts, life insurance policies, safe deposit boxes, unclaimed paychecks, and other real property and financial assets – a 13 percent improvement over 2011.

“Since 2005, the Department has helped more than 84,000 Minnesotans find $163 million that may otherwise have gone missing indefinitely,” said Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman, whose Department oversees the state’s Unclaimed Property Program. “We estimate that one out of every twenty Minnesotans has at least $100 currently being held by the State of Minnesota. Our message to Minnesota consumers is simple: this could be your money, come and claim it.”

Lakeville resident Rick Masloski represents one of the thousands of Minnesotans who benefitted from the state’s unclaimed property program this year. Masloski’s father passed away 19 years ago, and left him with more than $1,300 in unclaimed stock shares that Rick searched for but for years was unable to find. With the assistance of Commerce Department staff, Masloski was able to find, claim, and cash out the shares, which were duly his.


Minnesota Department of Commerce at Farmfest

Posted on August 08, 2012 at 1:23 PM
Categories: Commerce


The Minnesota Department of Commerce returned to Farmfest this year, with more information relevant to Greater Minnesota economies than ever before.  With an estimated 40,000 visitors over the three-day event, the Commerce Department took this incredible opportunity to host a booth and meet directly with people and businesses in the agriculture sector to discuss the varied services the Commerce Department provides to help support economic growth.

To give visitors a sense of the services provided by the Department to farming families and businesses, Commissioner Mike Rothman spent Wednesday speaking one-on-one with Minnesotans at the pancake breakfast, visiting Farmfest exhibits, and personally answering questions at the Commerce booth in the Agriculture Building on the following topics:


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