Gov. Mark Dayton gushed upon hearing the news that Bayport window maker Andersen Corp. was dropping $45 million to grow its North Branch and Cottage Grove factories, an expansion that could result in 300 new jobs. "I congratulate Andersen Corporation for its tremendous success," the state's Democratic leader said in a statement.
What Dayton conveniently failed to mention was that the move was preceded by pledges of almost $3 million in corporate welfare to Andersen, courtesy of Minnesota residents.
The company has already received $625,000 from the state's Job Creation fund for its Bayport expansion. It's slated to take in an additional $1.5 million from that same fund on top of $500,000 from the Minnesota Investment Fund for the Cottage Grove and North Branch projects.
Why does the state need to keep handing out huge welfare checks to giant companies like Andersen?
In this case, the free money is being given to a massive company that employs more than 10,000 people at 15 U.S. locations.
Messages left for Madeleine Koch, spokeswoman for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, went unreturned.
The Minnesota Job Creation Fund, one of Governor Dayton's legislative babies, started in 2013 with $24 million. It was designed to create 5,000 new jobs and attract another $450 million of private investment.
It's open to businesses that locate or expand operations in Minnesota, invest at least $500,000 within one year, create at least 10 permanent, full-time jobs within one year, and provide at least $12.48 per hour in total compensation.
Andersen is just the latest beneficiary of this reverse socialism, where everyday working schmucks give money to the already wealthy.
Promising to add 200 high-paying jobs within two years, Cardiovascular Systems, a medical device maker in New Brighton, scored $1.9 million in welfare for its new $30 million headquarters.
Broken down, Minnesotans are spending $9,500 per job.
Axis Clinicals, a clinical trial company from India, received almost $780,000 in welfare for a facility in Dilworth that's supposed to create 100 jobs.
In Axis's case, Minnesota taxpayers are paying $7,800 for each promised position.
Dilworth City Administrator Peyton Mastera considers the Axis welfare well-spent.
The company has taken over what was an abandoned Walmart. It's now in the throes of a three-phase renovation. While not yet fully operational, Mastera estimates the business already employs 40 full-time and 40 part-time workers.
"It's a big business with high visibility that's creating jobs," says Mastera. "We think that will be an asset to our housing market as new workers will need places to live.
"Since we're just on this side of the river from North Dakota, which is a wealthy state because of the oil boom, it's been a good investment because it keeps us competitive."
Messages left at Axis's Dilworth office were not returned.
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