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A threatened Minnesota advantage

We built better schools and got better test scores than most other states.  We established plentiful public parks, and recognized early the value of conservation and environmental protection. We ensured affordable higher education opportunities and produced one of the nation’s best workforces. We provided good highways and first-class public works infrastructure and the nation’s first metropolitan government.  We greatly valued public health and invested generously to produce some of the best outcomes in the nation. All of this public investing worked hand-in-glove with a generous business and non-profit leadership to produce a diverse economy and a state with a reputation for valuing both economic growth and social justice, a more evenly shared prosperity and a stronger middle class.

This advantage was built intentionally throughout our state’s history by generations of governors from all major political parties and by visionary community and business leaders. But the last decade has been marked by unprecedented disinvestment and unsustainable tax and budget cuts. Signs abound that Minnesota is losing ground, with declining rankings on economic measures and quality-of-life statistics, and increasing economic inequality.

We believe we will lose further ground if we don’t take maximum advantage of our governments’ classic role as strategic investors, with smart and ample investments in human potential and our physical infrastructure.

To that end, Growth & Justice offers this summary of a simple and straightforward investment agenda for Minnesota’s next governor and all candidates for political leadership in the next decade.

While this non-partisan proposal is offered in the context of a gubernatorial campaign and crucial election year, governors and governments can’t do it all, and we intend to communicate this investment agenda far and wide. Private-sector and non-profit leaders need to step up, interest groups need to compromise, citizens and voters need to have patience and do their part to advance the cause of sustainable and just economic growth for our beloved North Star State.


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