The Minnesota Chamber works year-round to strengthen the overall business climate for the livelihood of employers and employees alike. Our statewide economy is truly the sum of its parts.

The priorities of the statewide business community are center stage as we advance another aggressive agenda at the Legislature. Businesses across the state face similar challenges no matter their size or industry:

• The burden of high taxes.

• The increasing number of government-mandates on employee benefits.

• Access to quality health care at an affordable price.

• Sustainability measures too often implemented with minimal regard to the impact on economic growth.

• Shortage of skilled workers.

Growing jobs, and thus the statewide economy, is at the forefront in northeastern Minnesota with major economic development projects under review by state and federal agencies.

The regional impact of these projects has been well documented. PolyMet Mining, once operational, will create approximately 360 jobs paying annual wages and benefits of nearly $36 million.

The Enbridge Line 3 replacement is the largest private investment in Minnesota and will provide approximately 2,100 family-sustaining construction jobs in Minnesota and deliver an economic impact of more than $2 billion.

Twin Metals Minnesota, to date, has invested more than $450 million in project development.

That’s just a slice of their economic bounce, and that’s why the Minnesota Chamber Foundation in engaged in a major research project. “Minnesota: 2030” is intended to help Minnesotans understand the dynamics – in particular the inter-regional dependence – of our economy.

The study is the first deep-dive look at the state’s economy in 30 years and is expected to be released this summer. This will provide an actionable blueprint for economic growth and a roadmap for decision-makers in supporting and fueling Minnesota’s growth.

“Minnesota: 2030” will examine two major questions.

First, how is Minnesota positioned to change and grow over the next decade, based on the performance of its existing regions and industries? Second, how can the state maximize opportunities to advance Minnesota’s economy?

The economic vitality of northeastern Minnesota, like other regions, is partially dependent on market forces. Products made here are consumed elsewhere. For example, initial research from “Minnesota: 2030” shows that northeast Minnesota exported about $6.6 billion in products to North American markets in 2017.

Illinois, at $1.5 billion, was the largest destination with almost all going to the Chicagoland region; metallic ores made up 60% of the shipments. About $600 million of ores were shipped to Cleveland, and a similar value in pulp and paper products went to Milwaukee.

An additional $400 million of exports, primarily pulp and paper products, went to California.

Equally important to the state’s overall vitality is commerce among regions.

If northeastern Minnesota is growing, we all benefit. In 2017, for example, $8 million in machinery and $21 million in raw materials flowed from the southern region to the north.

Overall, $83 billion of commodities were traded among the regions. Statewide, another $101 million of commodities were shipped to other regions in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Minnesota’s extensive natural resources are both an asset to our quality of life and an opportunity for economic development.

The mining industry specifically has played a prominent role in the state’s prosperity for more than 130 years. The Minnesota Chamber supports sensible regulations that will allow Minnesota to maintain a clean environment and a healthy business climate, while fostering the economic change and growth this will bring statewide.

Doug Loon is president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce – www.mnchamber.com.

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