The Brookings Institute recently released a report on Minnesota’s economy called, Pillars of Prosperity: Leveraging Regional Assets to Grow Minnesota’s Economy. The super abridged version is that Minnesota has been doing well with low unemployment and good workers but success in the past does not ensure success in the future. Minnesota must invest in infrastructure, especially at the regional level to support:
Minnesota has the resources to invest now. We need to invest. I am heartened to say this is the same message I’ve heard from Representative Thissen on his broadband talking tour of the last month. He expects that Minnesota will have a budget surplus next year and he seems to believe that broadband infrastructure would be a wise investment with that surplus. This report backs him up.
The report says broadband is part of a recipe that makes Minnesota attractive to people and businesses…
Quality infrastructure and good governance provide the foundation for regional economies and enhance the impact of these three pillars. A region’s infrastructure, including its roads, bridges, railways, transit, housing, broadband technology, and essential supports for work such as child care, determines both whether a region is attractive as a place to live and work and whether firms and industries can thrive there. Good infrastructure makes it easier for firms to move goods and ideas readily around the globe and improves access to educational opportunities, jobs, residential neighborhoods, and amenities. Access to transit and quality housing influences whether workers and families can benefit from the opportunities created by a region’s economy. In contrast, inadequate infrastructure adds additional costs for both people and firms, making a place less efficient and less attractive.
State officials can support regional efforts with vision and investment…
In the near term, state officials should focus on what its top leadership can do best: establishing a high-level vision and goals for Minnesota’s growth and prosperity; providing critical investments in innovation, trade, and education and talent; and creating shared interests among regions to benchmark progress against key indicators of success. Investments in roads, broadband, other infrastructure, and housing are important, and will have far greater impact when they complement investments in the three key pillars of growth.
Minnesota gets a nod for broadband investment in the past – followed with encouragement to continue investing…
In the last few years, Minnesota has made critical investments in economic development to position the state for quality growth and opportunity. From the Minnesota Jobs Skills Partnership and the MN FastTRAC program to new broadband infrastructure programs and global trade offices, the state of Minnesota has responded to emerging challenges and opportunities with investments in the assets that matter most for long-term growth and opportunity. These actions will strengthen the pillars of growth in the global economy.
Yet, the state should not stop there. In the future, the governor and state legislature could structure programs and investments that can better inspire regional efforts to strengthen innovation ecosystems, encourage increased trade and foreign investment, and help more Minnesotans obtain the industry-relevant education and skills they need to compete in the next economy.