Jobs returning to politicians’ radar

This year started with Minnesota political leaders emphasizing the need to create jobs, but the state’s deficit problem sidetracked much of that talk.

Now, Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican lawmakers appear to be moving back to that discussion.

Dayton, for instance, starts a several-week-long emphasis on jobs with a Wednesday Fergus Falls visit. He plans a series of meetings around the state before hosting a jobs summit in St. Paul this fall.

Republican House leaders, meanwhile, announced they plan meetings around the state to discuss reforming Minnesota government, their primary method for helping the economy.

Dayton long has said he will go anywhere to land a new business for the state. In fact, he plans to visit Japan and South Korea to do just that. He also is considering rescheduling a China trade mission he postponed due to the July state government shutdown.

House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, declared war on South Dakota Thursday when, surrounded by other House members, he announced “Reform 2.0,” an effort to improve state government fiscal efficiency. Zellers said South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard has taken to the airwaves to encourage Minnesota businesses to move to his state because it is more business friendly.

“Our state’s economic climate and fiscal future rely on the reforms we are able to make today,” Zellers said.

Current state government, Zellers said, is a “1960s jalopy. … It’s the same, old chug-a-long engine.”

The GOP says meetings around the state have not been scheduled and officials said they do not know how they will enact a promised effort to gather government-reform opinions at the state fair, which begins Thursday.

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