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 Response Page - Kent & Stang  Interview -      
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These comments are responses to the statements listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
Susan Kent & Doug Stang  Interview of
10-25-2013.
 

Financial incentives critical to keeping 3M expansion in Minnesota

OVERVIEW

Two financial incentives offered by the city of Maplewood and the state of Minnesota were "critical" to 3M's deciding to build its new $150 million research and development (R&D) facility in Maplewood, rather than locating it elsewhere, according to Minnesota Sen. Susan Kent and 3M's Doug Stang.

Maplewood created a tax-increment finance (TIF) district to help fund parts of the 3M project and the 2013 Legislature approved a time-limit extension for the district from the normal eight years to 25 years. The Legislature also granted 3M a sales tax exemption on construction materials used for the project. In exchange, 3M committed to house at least 700 employees in the new facility, with average salaries over $50 an hour, and to make future investments in its Maplewood headquarters. 3M also agreed to donate land to the city of Maplewood to build a new fire station.

Kent says it's important that 3M is recommitting to Minnesota. Stang points out that few companies have made the level of investments in Minnesota recently that 3M has made at its various facilities around the state. He says Minnesota's workforce has always been a significant draw, but that 3M sees that foundational strength in the state and in the U.S. declining. He says 3M is very concerned about the lack of highly trained people for R&D and calls the ability to attract those people the "greatest threat" to its R&D staying in Minnesota.

Stang recommends that the state consider better ways for businesses to partner with the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), which had few tools in place for an expansion as large as 3M's. Kent says economic incentives to businesses can become "an arms race" and that the real challenge is to maintain what has made Minnesota a good place to do business for a long time. 

For the complete interview summary see:  Kent Stang interview

Response Summary: Average response ratings shown below are simply the mean of all readers’ zero-to-ten responses to the ideas proposed and should not be considered an accurate reflection of a scientifically structured poll.

To assist the Civic Caucus in planning upcoming interviews, please rate these statements on today's topic on a scale of 0 (strongly disagree) to 5 (neutral) to 10 (strongly agree):

1. Value of topic. (6.9 average response) The interview summarized today provides valuable information or insight.

2. Value of further study. (7.1 average response) It would be helpful to schedule additional interviews on this topic.

 On a scale of 0 (strongly disagree) to 5 (neutral) to 10 (strongly agree), please rate the following points discussed during the meeting: 

3. Assisting 3M a good decision. (5.8 average response) The Minnesota Governor and Legislature made a sound decision to divert tax dollars from city, county, school and state governments to help finance a $150 million research and development facility for the 3M Company.

4. Increase DEED funding. (6.7 average response) The Minnesota Governor and Legislature should increase Department of Employment and Economic Development funding for retaining and attracting Minnesota businesses.

5. Seek better funding balance. (7.9 average response) But the state needs a better plan for balancing (a) investment in education and other government services with (b) direct assistance to private business.

6. Help all businesses, not a select few. (8.5 average response) Instead of targeting assistance to some businesses, the state should concentrate on changes that help all businesses.

7. Workforce, not taxes, the gravest concern. (8.1 average response) The greatest threat to high-tech businesses remaining in Minnesota is not high taxes but the ability to attract highly trained people here.

8. Minnesota should urge immigration reform. (6.7 average response) To strengthen the ability to fill high-tech jobs at 3M and other companies, Minnesota should urge the federal government to liberalize immigration.

Response Distribution:

Strongly disagree

Moderately disagree

Neutral

Moderately agree

Strongly agree

Total Responses

1. Value of topic.

0%

10%

20%

50%

20%

10

2. Value of further study.

0%

0%

40%

40%

20%

10

3. Assisting 3M a good decision.

20%

10%

10%

40%

20%

10

4. Increase DEED funding.

10%

10%

0%

70%

10%

10

5. Seek better funding balance.

10%

0%

0%

50%

40%

10

6. Help all businesses, not a select few.

0%

0%

0%

60%

40%

10

7. Workforce, not taxes, the gravest concern.

0%

10%

0%

40%

50%

10

8. MN should urge immigration reform.

10%

0%

30%

30%

30%

10

Individual Responses:

Ray Ayotte  (5)  (5)  (7.5)  (7.5)  (10)  (7.5)  (10)  (10)

Don Anderson  (5)  (5)  (10)  (7.5)  (10)  (7.5)  (10)  (10)

Dave Broden  (10)  (10)  (10)  (0)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)

1. Value of topic. The discussion provided a clear statement of the importance of collaboration of the private sector and public to advance economic development and growth.

2. Value of further study. Further interviews will identify common private/public links as well as how each business development opportunity is different in how it must be addressed. We need to seek to understand the approach from various points of view.

3. Assisting 3M a good decision. This may be controversial, but growth of quality jobs feeds the economy, builds community, and opportunity in multiple ways. The details of how public incentives are provided and used must be updated and new approaches considered, but the need for a collaborative approach with incentives must remain as a key to the approach without impacting public service capability such as schools, infrastructure, etc.

4. Increase DEED funding. The roll and function of DEED must be redefined and reorganized prior to any consideration of increased funding. DEED staffing must be upgraded to understand business and skills and link stronger with the business community. A hybrid private/public DEED reorganization is most likely a very innovative approach to consider.

5. Seek better funding balance. This should be part of rethinking of how elements of state government link and support each other as well as what is the role of private sector in all aspects.

6. Help all businesses, not a select few. Helping all business is certainly the priority but there also need to be some balanced form of incentive process that can be applied as long as the state or other unit does not become a selector of winners and losers in the private sector. The role of government cannot evolve to select sectors of business or which business in a sector is a winner; that is the role of the marketplace economy.

7. Workforce, not taxes, the gravest concern. The highly trained people are and will be available if we have a strong education system at all levels including E-12, college, and postgraduate plus votech. That workforce is the core resource of Minnesota. Minnesota must also communicate that it welcomes high tech and related businesses. Yes we have MedDevices and several other types but we do not [have] the strong image that we need. We need to show Minnesota skill based capability not just the soft jobs.

8. Minnesota should urge immigration reform. Immigration reform must be a priority as a total immigration system review. The use of the word liberalize is perhaps a very bad choice because it polarizes the discussion. It is much better to speak of the specifics of bringing people to the US who will establish and strengthen the nation thru providing a workforce that is educated, skilled at all levels, etc. We need to speak about the positive aspects of immigration not just liberalize, which sends a tone of just more people not the value of the people.

Scott Halstead  (10)  (10)  (2.5)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (2.5)  (5)

3. Assisting 3M a good decision. It seems illogical to divert [money] especially educational [money] when 3M says it needs a very highly educated workforce.

4. Increase DEED funding. Including performance requirements.

7. Workforce, not taxes, the gravest concern. We need balanced, predictable taxes that pay for efficient, effective and necessary government.

Josh D. Ondich  (7.5)  (7.5)  (0)  (7.5)  (7.5)  (10)  (10)  (0)

3. Assisting 3M a good decision. I believe the 150 million dollars should have stayed with the local governments and school boards to improve the quality of services in their communities instead of subsiding 3M.

4. Increase DEED funding. I feel Department of Employment and Economic Development should be used to attract businesses.

5. Seek better funding balance. I believe the state does need a balanced investment in education and other government with direct assistance to private businesses. You need an even balance of a well educated workforce and assistance to private business in order to have economic development.

6. Help all businesses, not a select few. I feel for economic development to work, the state of Minnesota needs an environment that is interested in attracting and retaining all types of businesses, not just a select few. Local communities depend on smaller and medium size businesses to keep their local economies thriving.

7. Workforce, not taxes, the gravest concern. If Minnesota is to retain high-tech businesses, Minnesota needs to focus on education and training of a high tech workforce in order to meet the demands of those high tech jobs.

8. Minnesota should urge immigration reform. I do not believe the encouragement of laxed immigration would help Minnesota fill high tech jobs at high level wages or decrease unemployment. I believe Minnesota should focus on education and training of Minnesotans to develop a workforce that will fill those high tech jobs. Minnesota as a state should enforce current immigration laws.

Linda Loomis  (2.5)  (5)  (0)  (7.5)  (0)  (10)  (10)  (7.5)

3. Assisting 3M a good decision. The Federal Government should put a stop to all of this.  The State and the local municipalities are picking winners and losers. If you are a big business like 3M you get to use money from other taxpayers, including that of your competitors and other small business. It is a zero sum game and ratchets up the cost of government. If you are a small business you are ignored and most pay to give money to those lucky enough to get the benefit of TIF.

4. Increase DEED funding. This should be done, but it should be done in an equitable manner to benefit all business. Perhaps, rather than taxing more to provide incentives, lowering the tax rate, including property taxes and sales taxes, would prove more fair and equitable.

5. Seek better funding balance. We need to invest in education and look at how we fund higher education for students. Continuing to allow students to accumulate debt the way we have borders on criminal.  Many low-income citizens have incurred high levels of student debt, mostly to finance education at for profit organizations, without ever obtaining a degree or other kind of certification that would enable them to get a job.  They are forced into bankruptcy with their credit destroyed and the student debt stays with them. Education for these folks needs to happen another way.

7. Workforce, not taxes, the gravest concern. More focus should be placed on degrees within math and the hard sciences.  Every student should be taught to code in the sixth grade.  There are many needs in the business world today that are going unfilled because no one has the training to fill these jobs.

8. Minnesota should urge immigration reform. Students that receive an education in the United States should be allowed to stay here to work if they have a job.  At the rate we subsidize higher education we should not then force these workers to leave the country.  Take advantage of the education the taxpayers of this country have helped to provide to them.

James Fuller   (na)  (na)  (na)  (na)  (na)  (na)  (na)  (na)

[Nonsense.]  The constant bribing of wildly profitable corporations with taxpayer dollars that are needed elsewhere is criminal.  Let them go away.  If other states do likewise, they'll soon regret the blackmail game.

Tom Spitznagle   (6)  (5)  (5)  (3)  (8)  (9)  (6)  (5)

Chuck Lutz   (8)  (8)  (9)  (9)  (7)  (6)  (9)  (5)

Lyall Schwarzkopf   (7)  (7)  (7)  (7)  (8)  (8)  (6)  (6)

Wayne Jennings   (8)  (8)  (7)  (8)  (8)  (7)  (7)  (8)

 While it is good to hear, I'm puzzled by statements that our education system in Minnesota produces better employees. It doesn't seem that there would be that much of a difference since K-12 education is pretty much the same across the nation with few exceptions. I would imagine differences to be marginal. I know that Minnesota ranks near the top in high school graduation and test scores. However, the statistical differences between the top ranked states and the middle ranked states are fairly miniscule. I would like to hear some discussion of this point or does it refer primarily to higher education? I am glad to hear of the 3M expansion here.


    

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reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

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