Mark Dayton: Government experience provides skills to resolve state's problems
The next governor's No. 1 challenge will be to help businesses create jobs for the 200,000 Minnesotans out of work. It is painful beyond words when a woman tells me that her husband will not receive a paycheck for the first time in 40 years and t...
The next governor's No. 1 challenge will be to help businesses create jobs for the 200,000 Minnesotans out of work. It is painful beyond words when a woman tells me that her husband will not receive a paycheck for the first time in 40 years and then bursts into tears.
Creating the new jobs Minnesota needs is the shared responsibility of leaders in business and government. It will take all of our most creative ideas and best efforts for our state and our nation to succeed in this new global economy.
I have been to China six times in the past decade. I have seen some of the 1.3 billion people there working hard for 60-70 cents per hour at jobs that used to be in our country. Replacing those lost jobs with even better ones requires us to ask ourselves: What are the key ingredients to encourage economic growth in Minnesota?
When I served twice as our state's economic development commissioner, I asked businesses locating or expanding in Minnesota for their reasons. They almost always said our well-educated, hard-working citizens, sound infrastructure, excellent public schools, good health care and quality of life, and reliable public services.
Our state economist and other experts tell us those same ingredients are important to our future economic success. More future jobs will require college degrees. That's why keeping tuition affordable at Minnesota's public colleges and universities is crucial to giving our young people the keys to their success.
Graduating high school seniors ready for college requires the best possible public schools from kindergarten through 12th grade. And early childhood education, the experts tell us, is important to closing the achievement gap and helping every child to realize her or his full potential.
Another important role of government in helping create more jobs is good infrastructure. Minnesota's highways, roads, bridges and public transit all have suffered from 20 years of under-funding by state government. The results are worsening congestion in our metro areas and deterioration in our rural areas. Restoring those commitments will be another important responsibility of our next governor and Legislature.
Also important to businesses and all our citizens are cost-efficient public services. I have held 114 community meetings throughout our state and few people have told me they are receiving better service from state agencies than they did years ago. Unlike the current state administration filled with people who do not believe in government and thus have little interest in improving it, I believe in providing the best possible public service and in giving taxpayers the best possible value. That has been my commitment as Minnesota's commissioner of economic development, commissioner of energy and economic development, and state auditor. That is my promise, if I am elected governor.
This election is about your future, and the future of the state we love. The differences between the three candidates for governor are clear. My opponents will raise taxes on the middle class -- either by extending the sales tax to clothing and personal services such as haircuts and car repairs, or by cutting money to local governments and schools, which will cause even more property tax increases.
I am the only candidate for governor who will protect the middle class from higher taxes. I am the only candidate with proven experience leading state government agencies. And I am the only candidate with a terrific running mate from Duluth -- your outstanding state senator, Yvonne Prettner Solon. If you give Yvonne and me the chance on Nov. 2, we will go to work for you!
Mark Dayton is the DFL Party candidate for Minnesota governor.