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MN’s GOP Jobs Committee Chairman Invites WI Construction Co.’s to Relocate to His State

Republican union understander, Pat Garofalo

Republican union understander, Pat Garofalo

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Minnesota jobs committee chair Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington) has extended an invitation to two Wisconsin companies whose owners testified against “Right-to-Work.”  Officials from road construction companies Hoffman Construction of Black River Falls and Rock Road Companies of Janesville testified in front of the Wisconsin Senate committee that heard the soon-to-be-passed “Right-to-Work” bill.  In a letter, Garofalo invited the companies to set up shop across state lines in Minnesota:

“Wisconsin’s right to work legislation would negatively impact the private contracts between these companies and the unions they have voluntarily decided to partner with.  It’s heavy-handed and wrong for Wisconsin to inject government into these private contractual relationships that have worked well for private companies for decades.”

Bill Kennedy, owner of Rock Road Companies, was unequivocal in his Senate testimony:

“This bill will hurt the way I and many of my counterparts do business,” he said. “We work in partnership with our local unions. … This process has worked for many decades.”

It is refreshing to see a Republican speaking out against “Right-to-Work.” Garofalo told the two companies, “Minnesota’s construction industry is among the most efficient and productive in the nation, and I welcome the opportunity to bring these headquarters to Minnesota.”

He also praised the companies’ decision to voluntarily work with unions, saying he understood the importance of the union-contractor relationship in the construction industry.  Comparisons of Minnesota and Wisconsin — and the role politics has played in each state’s ability to rebound from the great recession — has been a topic of interest in recent years. In January, MPR News released 7 charts that show how much better the Minnesota economy has become, compared to Wisconsin:

“Business environment” rankings go up and down. Taxes and services are cut and added and cut again. Politicians spend lots of energy trying to lure businesses with tax breaks and “open for business” slogans.

But here’s what Forbes magazine highlighted when they listed Minnesota No. 9 in its 2014 ranking of best states for business:

Minnesota cracks the top 10 for a second straight year based on a strong current economic climate and quality of life. The Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area is home to 62% of the state’s population.
It is also serves as the state’s economic hub, with companies such as Target, U.S. Bancorp, General Mills, 3M and Medtronic headquartered there. Minnesota has the fourth highest percentage of adults with a high school degree at 92.4%.

With its good schools, low poverty rate and healthy populous, the state ranks second overall on Forbes’ quality of life measurements.

Wisconsin, by the way, came in at No. 32.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is expected to sign “Right-to-Work” on Monday.


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