Archive for February, 2010
February 27, 2010
As I listened to top managment of the Pollution Control Agency and the Department of Natural Resources at our legislative breakfast meeting, I was trying to picture what the flow chart or organization chart must look like for someone trying to secure an air or water permit. It has to be nothing short of Einstein’s most complicated mathematical formula. Between the PCA, 200 local DNR offices, a slew of local governments, sometimes even the Public Utilities Commission – and I am sure I am forgetting someone or some agency – it is no wonder it takes so long to secure a permit.
Now no one that I know is asking for the requirements to be reduced. All they are asking for is a little more speed in the process and some updates along the way so they don’t get all the way to the end, only to find they could have fixed something during the process. Our environmental review and permitting process is one way of showing that “Minnesota is open for business.” We are not here to “regulate you;” we are here to “assist you.” That change alone would go a long way to encouraging companies to stay and grow here.
February 9, 2010
How about those Twins. I don’t know about you, but I was already fired up for the 2010 season because of the beautiful new stadium. Quite honestly the Twins could have put pretty much any lineup on the field and the new ballpark would have sold the seats.
Not the Twins – new shortstop, new second baseman, a seasoned homerun hitter, and, soon, long-term contracts for the M&M boys. Add to the hitters an impressive list of folks competing for starting rotation spots. So it might be a little chilly at the April games…this lineup is hot and I am fired up. Go Twins!
February 7, 2010
Nearly 1600 folks squeezed into the River Centre ballroom on Thursday night to kick off the 2010 legislative session. More importantly, the business community had the opportunity to present this year’s top legislative priorities and visit with Minnesota lawmakers. Minnesota businesses are concerned that some legislators will continue to focus on increasing the costs of doing business in Minnesota at a time when they should be working to reduce costs and eliminate unnecessary red tape and regulations.
Even Senator Larry Pogemiller stated that they have to cut $1.2 billion out of the budget and do it this year – not next year. While public-sector employees may cringe, Minnesota companies have been cutting costs and producing products more efficiently for years now in order to survive. Layoffs, frozen or reduced wages, and benefit cuts have, unfortunately, become a part of business survival. State government will have to follow suit as no one is immune to the impacts of this recession.
February 7, 2010
Remind me not to ask SEIU Local 26 to stage my next protest. Thursday afternoon 20 or so protestors tried to interrupt our issue briefing prior to our Annual Session Priorities event at the River Centre in St. Paul. While our staff was presenting our priorities to 300 some folks, they walked into the room passing out leaflets and carrying two big posters demeaning several of our top Minnesota companies. They were quickly ushered from the room.
I am all for free speech. That said, I find it incredibly rude that these protestors simply feel like they can barge into any private meeting and try to disrupt the proceedings to make their point. The good news is their protest completely backfired because of the offensive nature of their actions.
Better yet, they were protesting in the wrong room. They meant to protest at the Minnesota Bankers Association meeting next door. But since our door was open, they headed right in. You would think a labor union would be better organized
February 2, 2010
Minnesota is lucky. Every time I travel this great state I am reminded of that. I recently spent a day with our Leadership Minnesota class (which is a fantastic program by the way) in Austin. It takes about two minutes to see the positive impact Hormel has on its headquarter community. Not only does Hormel provide a boatload of high-paying, high-benefit jobs, it is a great corporate citizen.
Not too many people know, but the Hormel Institute is not a research facility trying to discover the next Spam. In fact, it is working hard to cure cancer. Yes, the Hormel Institute has some of the world’s best doctors working diligently to cure cancer in Austin, Minnesota.
So the next time a legislator tells me “how lucky Minnesota companies are to do business here,” I will respond that it is quite to the contrary. We are lucky they are doing business here. Can you imagine Austin without Hormel? Warroad without Marvin Windows and Doors? Marshall without Schwan’s and International Falls without Boise? It is time to admit how lucky we are and to stop taking these great companies for granted.