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Minnesota by the numbers: We're number 44!

class=img_thumbleft>If you believe the cheerleaders, the Minnesota economy is going gang-busters these days. Much of the credit, the argument goes, belongs to the Pawlenty administration, which has supposedly cultivated a much more business friendly environment by slashing taxes and reining in spending. Not surprisingly, the recent news that Minnesota has fallen from the fourth highest taxed state in the nation to the 16th produced plenty of crowing from all the usual suspects.

Now along comes the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis to spoil the party. In a report released this week, the Bureau found that Minnesota ranked 44th among the states in economic growth between 2004 and 2005. Nationally, there was a 3.5 percent increase in real gross product over that period; in Minnesota, that figure was a paltry 1.3 percent.

This dispiriting news follows on the heels of a March report from the Bureau that found per capita income growth was increasing more slowly in Minnesota than in all but four other states--Washington, Michigan, Mississippi and Louisiana.