Welcome to your Greater Mankato News Digest | March 2 – March 15
Every other week we will share news highlights and headlines of Greater Mankato Growth as well as a recap of our Member News feature that just launched in January.
CELEBRATING NATIONAL AG WEEK
“National Ag Week” is being celebrated March 13-19 all across the United States, as well as in Minnesota, with Tuesday, March 15, being designated as “National Ag Day”. As we celebrate “National Ag Week”, it is a good time to reflect on all the traditions and advancements that help make the U.S. and Minnesota agriculture industry truly remarkable.
Jim Santori is the New Business Development Director at Greater Mankato Growth (GMG). John Considine is the Director of Regional Business Intelligence at GMG. They work together to grow the regional business marketplace.
JOHN: So Jim, Old Town is going through a planning process that will likely shape it’s future for the next several decades. I think it’s exciting, but I’m an urban planning geek. You’re a former news guy, so does this type of community activity bring out any “inner-geek” for you? Read More
The Minnesota Legislature gavels into session today. They face a short 11 weeks to tackle significant policy priorities before they must adjourn on May 23rd. The big news is that the Legislature has a surplus of $900 million, lower than last year’s originally projected $1.2 billion. Legislative leaders and the Governor have been taking positions regarding a variety of uses of those funds, though planned tax and transportation bills could consume much, if not all, of that surplus squeezing out other proposed spending.
And this will all play out against the backdrop of elections that are less than a year away that will see each of the state’s 201 legislative seats in the House and Senate up for grabs. Read on for highlights on key issues. Be sure to check back on our blog page for continuing updates throughout the legislative session.
Also, be sure to register to participate in this year’s Greater Mankato at the Capitol on March 30. This event will be a great opportunity to help raise our community’s visibility with state leaders and get engaged on issues that are important to you and your business. Read More
When you talk about transportation needs, this report argues that freight rail is critical to the economic well being of Minnesota and should not be overlooked when discussing transportation funding.
As reported by Capitol Report, freight rail is particularly important to “outstate towns where grain elevators sit along rail lines . (T)he rail industry is an economic engine even after widespread consolidation in the grain industry over the past three decades.”
CR also pointed out that “rail claims a 14 percent share — or $1.23 billion — of Minnesota’s gross state product, according to U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis data.” And “freight rail use in Minnesota is 52 percent greater than the national average, according to data compiled by Lee Munnich, a senior fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs who focuses on transportation policy and finance.”
With two Class 1 rail lines moving through Mankato and the discussion of high speed passenger service connect to the Twin Cities – and the timely release of this study – one would suspect that rail will want to be at the bargaining table.
The Minnesota Legislature will gavel into session on March 8. As always, Greater Mankato Growth (GMG) will keep our members up to speed on key issues and provide the information you’ll need to be an advocate for your business. Be sure to stay tuned to this blog next week for a post that will review the upcoming session and preview key issues businesses should keep an eye on.
GMG’s board of directors has also approved a set of policy priorities that our organization will pursue in the 2016 session. I’ve highlighted our top priorities, including Highway 14 expansion and extension of the local 1/2% sales tax below. GMG’s priorities are also supportive of the policy positions of the Greater Minnesota Partnership (which include broadband expansion and workforce housing, among others). And for the first time, GMG endorsed the Minnesota Chamber’s policy priorities as a federation partner. This year the Chamber is focused on reducing the statewide business property tax and securing a long-term transportation finance bill. You can check out GMG’s full slate of policy priorities here. Further, if you’d like additional background on our policy process, check out our advocacy flow chart. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions (firstname.lastname@example.org / 507-385-6657) Read More
The presidential campaign is heating up as we enter into March where about 30 states will hold primaries and caucuses that will be critical in determining who will represent the Republican and Democratic parties in the November general election. Read More
Every day we all have the opportunity to read a variety of articles, media, perspectives, etc. Much of it we likely take in quickly and move on, some of it perhaps even impacting our thinking. BUT, sometimes we read something that stops us…beckons us to return to it, re-read it, causes us to reflect…and may even serve as some type of productive inspiration for us going forward.
One of the talented professionals with whom I am blessed to work, Megan Flanagan (our Director of the City Center Partnership), shared this short article from The Atlantic Magazine, Eleven Signs a City Will Succeed by James Fallows.
This is a list we definitely want to do well on, and unlike many other lists, the metrics of this one are clear and tell us exactly what we can do as a community to do better. I’m inspired by this list of eleven signs; probably because as someone who has spent a great deal of time working in community, the list makes sense to me. And if I’m being honest, I also probably like it because as Trudie Gustafson (our EVP) said, “We have many of the signs!!!”
Take a few minutes to read the article…and let me know what you think.