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Do Dayton, DFL deserve credit for MN's high rank in CNBC's Top States For Business?

Somewhere, Tim Pawlenty shakes his head...
Somewhere, Tim Pawlenty shakes his head...

The Dayton administration is crowing after Minnesota clocked in with a sixth-place finish in CNBC's Top States For Business 2014 list.

Matt Swenson, Dayton's press secretary, drew reporters' attention to the study yesterday, writing in an email, "Members of the Press - I wanted to make sure you saw this news release issued by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) this afternoon. CNBC just named Minnesota the 6th-best place to do business in the United States."

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That's certainly nothing to sneeze at, especially considering CNBC's impressively rigorous methodology and the fact that all the states above Minnesota are typically considered "red." And it won't help the Republicans who want to unseat Dayton make a case that Minnesotans are somehow worse off than we were before the governor took office.

In an explanation of its methodology, CNBC writes, "Our study is not an opinion survey -- we rely as much as possible on tangible numbers to gauge each state's performance."

More from CNBC about the methodology:

States receive points based on their rankings in each metric. Then we separate those metrics into 10 broad categories. We assign a point weighting to each category, based on how frequently the category is used as a selling point in state economic development marketing materials. For example, if more states tout their low business costs, the category for cost of doing business carries greater weight. That way, our study ranks the states based on the criteria they use to sell themselves.

Here's the top of CNBC's list, including the quantitative support for each state's ranking (click to enlarge):

Do Dayton, DFL deserve credit for MN's high rank in CNBC's Top States For Business?
CNBC


We asked Press Secretary Swenson for additional comment about the study. He directed us to the following quote from Katie Clark Sieben of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

"The CNBC study adds to the growing evidence that Minnesota is a great place to do business," Clark Sieben says. "This study recognizes our strong business climate, which is driving job growth and corporate expansions statewide."

But before you give the state's DFL leaders all the credit, consider that Minnesota's ranking in the annual study has fluctuated over a time frame going back to the Pawlenty years.

(For more, click to page two.)

 

Here's Minnesota's year-by-year rankings going back to 2009:

2009: 6
2010: 8
2011: 7
2012: 11
2013: 15
2014: 6

In sum, the Land of 10,000 Lakes had the same ranking during the last full year before Dayton was elected as it does now. So perhaps one could say the state's business climate is as healthy now as it was when T-Paw was in power?

We gave Minnesota Republican Party Chair Keith Downey an opportunity to make that point to us himself, but he didn't respond to an email.

If you're curious, CNBC's worst states for business, from 45 to 50, are Maine, Connecticut, Alaska, West Virginia, Hawaii, and Rhode Island, respectively. North Dakota clocks in at 10th, South Dakota 11th, Iowa 12th, and Wisconsin, as you can see in the graphic on page one, is 17th.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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