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Letter to Editor: Session’s Biggest Compromise?

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Talent, education and quality of life have historically been Minnesota’s competitive advantage. Today, they are not enough. We must compete holistically.

For years, robust financial incentives in other states have overshadowed our talent and quality. In 2014, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development was given resources that at least gave the state a seat at the table, when we were otherwise not a consideration. Thanks to the Minnesota Investment Fund and the Minnesota Job Creation Fund, we’re a leader again — named by CNBC as the No. 1 state for business in 2015. Despite ranking in the bottom third in cost of doing business, these programs have helped bring clearer focus to our top rankings in education and quality of life. A little goes a long way in Minnesota.

Now we’re back on the bench, caught in an election-year legislative session that revoked more than $20 million from these “competition funds.” More than 70 projects in the pipeline are now at risk, along with all future opportunities. This is not a compromise that Minnesota can afford. These funds should be restored during the upcoming special session.

In Medical Alley, these funds made the difference on new headquarters, including those of Smiths Medical, Cardiovascular Systems and Ability Network, and in expansions like that of Beckman Coulter. These funds made the difference in attracting Heraeus Medical Components and the Olympus Surgical Innovation Center to Minnesota. The breakthrough cell company Stemonix chose to revolutionize personal medicine in Minnesota, not California.

Minnesota’s Medical Alley ranks as the world’s No. 1 health technology innovation cluster. Staying No. 1 means staying competitive.

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