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 Response Page - Kautz  Interview -      

These comments are responses to the questions listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
Elizabeth Kautz Interview of

The Questions:

1.  _6.0 average response_____On a scale of (0) most disagreement , to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, please indicate how strongly you share a view that successful economic development strategies must concentrate on metropolitan areas, where the bulk of new jobs are located.

2.  _6.6 average response_____ On a scale of (0) most disagreement , to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, please indicate how strongly you share a view that a new economic development entity is needed, involving the Minnesota Regional Council of Mayors and major corporations in the metro area. 

3.  _6.7 average response_____ On a scale of  (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, please indicate how strongly you share a view that a metro area economic strategy for Minnesota should include the St. Cloud-Rochester corridor, not only the seven counties under the jurisdiction of  the Metropolitan Council.

4.  _5.7 average response_____ On a scale of  (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, please indicate how strongly you share a view that the state should phase out aid to city governments.

5.  Comments? __________________________________________________ 

Arvonne Fraser (6) (5) (4) (1)

Terry Stone (1) (2) (5) (_)

Question 1:  Statewide tax policy needs to be business friendly. The decision of where to locate must be left to the free markets. Minnesota State Government must get out of the social planning business. It has no role in deciding where a business wants to locate.   Social planning initiatives like Agenda 21, Smart Growth and Sustainable Development favor high urban density that comes with locating the means of production in metropolitan environments.

Question 2:  Solid tax structure and a pro-business regulatory climate build businesses. Government must remove itself from central social planning with or without the willing cooperation of municipalities, counties or Minnesota’s two governments within a government. 

Question 4:  LGA needs to be phased out. So long as municipal money is laundered through the State, bureaucracy will engage the process of social planning.

Bert Press (0) (10) (5) (0)

Glenn Dorfman (8) (0) (0) (10)

Question 1:   If, by metropolitan area, you mean regional centers around the State.

Question 2: We do  not need any more organizations. We need high quality education for our kids in the liberal arts and sciences and a rational, non-politicized immigration policy stressing our desire to attract and welcome skilled people who want to fill the jobs that Minnesota businesses create.  Business needs to have the government umbilical cord cut not reinforced. Quality jobs will create demand for competent workers. Government should concentrate on providing a narrow range of public services well rather than a broad range of mediocre services.

Question 3:   and St. Cloud, Duluth, Grand Rapids, and the Range.

Question 4:  Only if cities are not restricted from raising property taxes in any way whatsoever. If local citizens want city services they should pay for them directly and transparently.

Donald H. Anderson (8) (7) (10) (5)

Do we also need more consolidation of cities as well as townships?

Al Quie (9) (10) (10) (10)

Tom Spitznagle (7) (8) (7) (8)

Wayne Jennings (7) (7) (7) (5)

Clarence Shallbetter (3) (0) (3) (6)

Alan Duff (5) (5) (3) (8)

Charles Lutz (9) (9) (8) (7)

Kent Eklund (3) (5) (8) (5)

Paul Hauge (6) (7) (8) (2)

Outstate communities deserve equal proportionate treatment with economic benefits comparable to the metro area.

Bright Dornblaser (8) (8) (10) (5)

Carolyn Ring (10) (10) (10) (8)

Bill Kuisle (0) (0) (0) (7)

(1) Carol Becker (0) (10) (10) (5)

Question 1:  There are legitimate rural job development opportunities that shouldn't be ignored. Having said that though, we have to be aware that much manufacturing and even food processing has gone to other countries.

Question 2:  Business leaders have to step up. In some ways there are things that only they can do to affect change.

Question 3:  The region is 19 counties when you actually look at commuting patterns. In Stearns County, over half the people employed in the county work in the seven counties. It is all one big region.

Question 4:  It seems inevitable so commenting on it doesn't seem to make much sense. But it means our tax system is more inequitable. It also means the center cities bear an unfair burden of providing job centers, housing for the most troubled and entertainment for the region.

Dave Broden (0) (7.5) (7.5) (2.5)

Question 1:  If Minnesota adopts a metro centric economic development plan it will be a major mistake. There are other cities across Mn (Moorhead, Duluth, Rochester, Albert Lea, Pipestone, Winona, St. Cloud, Willmar, Alex, Fergus, Marshall and more--all of which have business opportunities. Only metro centric folks who really have no understanding of the outstate resources would even propose such a narrow minded concept. Also let us not forget that a key part of Mn economy remains agri business both on the farms themselves and in the ag processing business--most of this is not metro. We need a balanced economic development plan that addresses all parts of Mn. Yes there are components that will benefit more from a Metro focus but none work without a statewide focus. The idea of a metro focus should be wisely and strongly rejected. Sorry for being a total Mn person but we have that responsibility.

Question 2:  I certainly agree that a new entity is desired. The entity must however have statewide focus as well as a strong metro component. A second thought is to get off the idea that only major corporations have ideas. I hope all of those who read this are fully aware of the role of innovation and small business in job and business development and growth. Who says we only want the big guys to shape our economic future? Yes they must play but let's connect with the economy and technologies of the 21st century which are centered in the new and small rather than the old and big.

Question 3:  Yes I support this but let's be sure that the reaches of this organization get to the total state. It is not the role of the state or other businesses to build more parochialism. This could lead to that problem.

Question 4:  The state must rethink the role of state aid to local communities. We must not evolve to a state or area that has pockets of under funded infrastructure and safety related functions. The easy answer is to phase out the aid--the needed issue is to determine what is needed for quality of life, safety, health etc. and then find the best way to meet these needs. Once again we are going backwards in the solution addressing funding before determining what needs to be done to do the job correctly.

Ken Smart (7.5) (5) (2.5) (10)

Dave Roeser (0) (10) (5) (10)

Question 2:  Have you checked into the new entity L3C, a combination of non-profit and for profit entity that could help blighted areas. Contact me if you wish to discuss. Dave Roeser, Lino Lakes City Council.

Question 3:  Not if the idea is just putting in light rail.

Question 4:  Lower state taxes by same amount as the aid so that it is cost neutral to taxpayers, citizens and commercial.

Jan Hively (7.5) (2.5) (10) (2.5)

Greg David (2.5) (10) (5) (2.5)

Question 1:  Econ Dev needs to go where the brain power, and creativity is. I strongly FEAR that the inner-cities of Mpls/St Paul are resting on their laurels; the brain power has moved out to the third ring 'burbs, and the cities are severely losing (unless you consider the number of attorneys, and ad agency types). I also see a huge separation between the 'haves' (the mostly white educated) and the non-whites in the core of the twin cities. I wish I'd kept the study, but I recall a former nonprofit 'The Great North's study of a few yrs back; and if I recall correctly: of the 200 some-odd patents issued in the 13 county metro in 2005, and if you exclude the Univ. of MN; I believe only one firm in Mpls received a new patent. The creative, non-arts, scientific brain power has exited the core of the main urban cities; and no one seems to care! While Rochester is not a fun place, and holds on to I believe much racism, at least it as a non-metro/rural area retains brain power. The concept of clusters of new industry have not birthed in the TCs. We, so far, still lead in heart-related technologies; but I fear we're sitting on our laurels. Other major concerns I have are: 1) I've heard from major employers like Target/US Bank that it's almost impossible for them to attract non-white graduate students because of the real, subtle, racism here. I've heard a recruiter lament that if a non-white new employee is not married within the first 3-4 yrs of live in the the TCs, that person will move away, back to a more ethnically mixed culture - and none of our politicians seem overly concerned. I greatly fear that the metro and most Minnesotan's are resting on old images of the (formerly) Great North Star state. It's time we wake-up... we're not competing with the Dakota; but with Asia, Australian, even I suspect Austin, TX !

Question 2:  I'm curious as to what became of The Itasca Project? I don't see any leadership from either Mayor Coleman nor RT; and less from out-state officials. I still see MN as 'hometown' microcosm of what's good for only my town. I see no leadership to promote MN to the World !!

Question 3:  Sorry, I don't see creativity coming from St. Cloud. And talk about not so sublte racism. Now Rochester, at least it has the brain-power, but it too seems to lurk of racism ('the whites still lead the way')

Question 4: Given property value disparities, we still need this.

John Sievert (10) (10) (5) (5)

Anonymous (7.5) (0) (7.5) (7.5)

Question 2:  Private sector options should be considered first as well as efforts to improve the general business climate.

Anonymous (2.5) (0) (10) (0)

Question 1:  Emerging energy businesses are often not located in the metro

Question 2:  Perhaps on an ad-hoc basis but the last thing the state needs is another commission to tell others what they should do.

Question 3:  as well as Duluth to Mankato

Question 4:  Very easy for a property rich metro mayor to say but the system was originally designed for equity

Greg Dahl (7.5) (7.5) (7.5) (2.5)

Debbie Frenzel (10) (7.5) (5) (7.5)

Robert J. Brown (2.5) (7.5) (7.5) (10)

Question 1:  If small business creates most of the new jobs we should encourage the growth of small business throughout the state down to small (e.g. 5000 population) urban areas.

Question 3:  Don't forget St. Croix County Wisconsin which has been in our Stadnard Metropolitan Area for years plus one or two more Wisconsin counties that may be part of our economic development area.

Question 4:  LGA is a classic example of a short term solution (buying votes to get the sales tax passed in 1967) which has created a long term problem - local units of government wanting to get the credit for programs that someone else has to pay for.

Jim White (10) 10) (5) (2.5)

Question 1:  Seems obvious that the jobs will go where there's people and housing and transit.

Question 2:  I don't think the State does a good job in economic development. I prefer to see a new economic development entity as suggested.

Question 3: I can't tell what would work better if there was a wider net.

Question 4: Property taxes alone cannot support most of the State's local governments.

Terrell Towers (7.5) (2.5) (10) (7.5)

Jana King (10) (10) (5) (5)

Question 1:  Regions are the basis for successful economic development strategies. The economy, businesses and the workforce function regionally without regard to local government boundaries. Yes - metropolitan areas do create the bulk of jobs, but rural regions can work together successfully and should not be neglected.

Question 2:  It was needed at least 10 years ago. Such public-private entities were established in St. Cloud and Rochester between 1986-1988; Mankato & NE MN followed shortly thereafter. Most peer metro areas around the nation established regional economic development organizations in the 1990s. Leadership and engagement by the private sector in economic development is welcome and essential. It's also important to have the public sector engaged. As the former leader of a regional public-private EDO I strongly recommend that private sector funding make up at least 60% of the budget and that public sector leadership is very engaged, but that the effort does not become too linked to a single political leader or party. That allows the EDO to truly maintain a long term focus on vision, mission and goals - beyond the election cycle. Unfortunately economic development systems in MN are primarily reactive and transactional. The best state and regional economic development approaches are strategic. They are based on an understanding of a region's competitive advantage - then nurturing those strengths and promoting the growth of industries through supportive public policy and investments (e.g. alignment of higher education resources; competitive transportation infrastructure; thoughtful regulation and taxation) rather than a simplistic transactional approach - (e.g. incentive $$ to a few companies). In MN too much "economic development" responsibility lies inside city departments that are staffed primarily by planners - many of whom have regulatory responsibilities and/or a regulatory mindset. These are good people, but they have many other responsibilities and aren't part of an organizational culture that focuses on opportunity, development, promotion, etc.

Question 3:  It should definitely include the 11 counties that are in the Minnesota portion of the 13 county MSA. Elizabeth Kautz mentioned the 13 county area, but not which 13. Working with the 2 Wisconsin counties that are part of the MSA would be interesting.... it gets more complex operationally to access data, real estate listings, understand available incentives, tax laws, etc. While it's more complex to integrate 2 WI counties operationally, they may help our region offer a more "complete menu" of possibilities (e.g special bio-science funding options not available in MN, different cost structure). However, there's a greater sense of shared identity and "sharing" inside MN - sharing state tax revenues, county tax revenues, etc.... that won't be the case if WI counties are involved. Reaching out to Rochester and St. Cloud is an interesting discussion too. It may be possible to work together strategically - but operationally it could be challenging to try to bring St. Cloud and Rochester into a metro economic development entity. The St. Cloud Area Economic Development Partnership was established in 1986 - I served as its first president. Rochester Economic Development, Inc. was established about the same time. I suppose it's like a larger corporation dealing with merger and acquisition issues, except it would be a bit odd for a start-up to try to take on entities that are 20+ years old - with deep roots in their communities.

Rick Krueger (5) (10) (10) (0)

Question 1:  Depends what "concentrate" means. Rural should not be left out of economic development at a time when information technologies are expanding options on where to live and work. If concentrate means focus on areas in need of economic stimulus then that could be either rural or metro.

Question 2: Competition involving economic incentives as such as attracting a software company to move from Minneapolis to St. Paul are not what is needed because it equates to a zero sum gain for the metro area.

Question 3:  LGA or something like it needs to be in place. Staples, Minnesota is located in 2 of the poorest counties in the state and the value of its property tax is very low even with a high effort. St. Paul has somewhere around 45% of its property tax exempt from having an extraordinary amount of governmental, church and higher education buildings. These are the type of cities that rely on higher education. Obviously, those are unique situations far different from a suburb such as Burnsville that doesn't have to rely on LGA. This reminds me of a rich person telling a poor person that "money doesn't matter". LGA is critical in certain situations and without it property taxes would be unaffordable to pay for basic services in certain cities.

Bob White (10) (5) (10) (10)

Bert LeMunyon (7.5) (10) (5) (7.5)

Robert Freeman (7.5) (10) (7.5) (10)

Question1: I think this is realistic but it seems like it will be the death of rural areas. We should make a conscious decision as a community that that is the route we wish to take.

Question 2: The fact that MSP is not even on the radar for site selectors speaks volumes to this.

Question 3: I think there are several definitions of the MSP metro area that might work better than the current one.

Question 4: LGA has perversely altered the dynamics between taxpayers and elected officials. There should be a reassessment of what needs are being served by jurisdictions. There is no good reason to have almost 100 counties or townships with less than 1000 people.

Todd Klingel (10) (10) (7.5) (5)

Question 1: Certainly there should be efforts in Greater MN as well, but the candiates seeking those opportunites are different then the ones lookng for urban options.

Question 2: It is great that the Regional Council of Mayors wants to get involved. They would be most helpful by making it more attractive to do business here. Opportunities include streamlined regulation and permitting. Lower property taxes.

Question 3: It should include the 13 counties of the MSA. Eleven of these are in MN and the other two are in Wisconsin. Now, that is regionalism.



The Civic Caucus   is a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Core participants include persons of varying political persuasions, reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

   Verne C. Johnson, chair;  David Broden, Charles Clay, Marianne Curry, Bill Frenzel, Paul Gilje,  Jim Hetland,  Marina Lyon, Joe Mansky, John Mooty,  Jim Olson,  and Wayne Popham 

The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
8301 Creekside Circle #920,   Bloomington, MN 55437.
Verne C. Johnson, chair, 952-835-4549,       Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.

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