Minnesota Trade: Better Idea than Energy Tax

By October 10, 2007General

A few items from our regular Minnesota reading…

Governor Tim Pawlenty will be leading a trade mission to India later this month. Very astute, a bit ahead of the curve, marketwise. Here’s a news item, and the original press release from January announcing the trip. Minnesota’s economy features a strong export base; Minnesota’s manufacturing exports rose to $3.9 billion in the first quarter of 2007, up 7.2 percent over the same period the year before. (Fact sheet here.)

Now, to balance the far-sighted approach toward the economy, we see typical heavy-handed regulation coming from the Minnesota Legislature and the PUC, which is planning to impose a carbon-dioxide on power generation. North Dakota’s coal industry and state governments are up in arms, because the tax will serve to make N.D. energy more expensive. Yes, and it also serves to make Minnesota less attractive to energy-intensive manufacturers. The PUC tried a similar anti-energy plan in the mid-90s, if memory serves, assessing externality charges on electricity production; it fell by the wayside in part because of Commerce Clause concerns.

Blogger Rob Port in North Dakota asks (rhetorically) if Minnesota is going to embrace nuclear power instead, and suggests: “[If] we end up with a glut of coal power let’s use that to our advantage. If Minnesota is going to make power in that state more expensive, let’s bill ourselves as the cheap power state. That will our state more attractive to businesses and ultimately draw jobs here.” Shocking idea.

Finally, keep an eye out for moose.

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