ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton is turning his focus to employment, hoping to build a legacy as Minnesota’s jobs governor and get beyond the state government shutdown that put 22,000 state employees out of work for nearly three weeks.

Dayton will start a statewide tour next week aiming to gather ideas aimed at sparking hiring and attracting new employers.

The first-term Democrat — who vowed as a candidate to “go anywhere in the state, nation or even world to bring a job to Minnesota” — said in an interview this week that he aims to make job creation his main goal for the rest of his term, which runs through 2014.

“This will be my No. 1 priority for the rest of my term — trying to help businesses create additional jobs in Minnesota and trying to get new jobs in Minnesota,” Dayton said. “I will go anywhere, call anybody, do what I can.”

Dayton’s budget standoff with legislative Republicans, which led to the nation’s longest state government shutdown in at least a decade, ended after he gave up a plan to raise income taxes for top earners.

The governor’s focus on employment echoes President Barack Obama’s recent emphasis on jobs, with a Midwestern tour that started in Minnesota on Monday and a plan to outline a detailed jobs program next month.

Dayton’s tour — a series of regional meetings starting with a kickoff session in Fergus Falls on Wednesday — will culminate in a statewide jobs summit in St. Paul this fall. The governor said he plans to collect ideas from business leaders, teachers, local economic development officials and labor representatives as he puts together what he described as a business plan for the state.

More than 200,000 Minnesota residents are jobless, and last month’s shutdown caused the state’s unemployment rate to jump to 7.2 percent. Though higher than in recent months, it remains well below the national jobless rate of 9.1 percent, and state Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Mark Phillips, one of Dayton’s top jobs advisers, said Thursday that the shutdown job losses temporarily masked incremental improvements in the job market.

Business leaders said Dayton probably won’t make an immediate dent in the unemployment rate, but can initiate policy changes to improve the job climate over the longer term. High on their list: Lower business taxes, a stronger K-12 public school system and fewer energy regulations.

“We’re not going to wave a magic wand and suddenly have 3 percent unemployment in Minnesota,” said Bill Blazar, senior vice president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. “We’re part of a world economy. We need state policies that allow us to do well in that world economy.”

Labor leader Harry Melander said he hoped Dayton’s jobs tour would lead to new construction jobs, including another round of public works projects next year backed by state borrowing and a new Vikings stadium, which would create thousands of construction jobs.

“He’s getting back to work and he’s going to try to get us back to work,” said Melander, who heads the Minnesota State Building and Construction Trades Council.

Dayton said he will assess the market and the state’s finances before deciding whether to seek legislative approval of a construction projects package next year.

In Fergus Falls, where hundreds of residents commute to jobs in North Dakota, Mayor Hal Leland said he hopes state leaders will come together to make Minnesota more competitive. Leland said he hopes the deep political divisions between Dayton and the GOP Legislature won’t hamper those efforts.

“We have not been able to compete with neighboring states,” Leland said.

He added: “It’s a challenge, a major challenge, for anyone to do anything and until we get away from the bipartisan polarization, we’re not going to accomplish anything.”

Republican House Speaker Kurt Zellers said Thursday that he expected Dayton’s tour to focus more on government jobs than private-sector positions. Still, Zellers added that he welcomed Dayton’s signature on a new state law designed to streamline the environmental permitting process for businesses, and hopes the governor will consider making state agencies higher-tech and consolidating offices that issue permits.

“Private-sector jobs are the most critical part — trying to stimulate that part of the economy,” said Zellers, R-Maple Grove.

For his part, Dayton said he expects to hear a lot about improving access to capital for new and expanding businesses, matching up the state’s educational and vocational programs with employers’ needs, increasing exports and improving infrastructure. He said his administration could move forward in some areas under its own authority, with no legislative action required.

But the governor said he is also open to ideas from lawmakers.

“I think we agree on the importance of jobs, and that got lost in the legislative session,” Dayton said.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (58)
  1. StraycatStrut says:

    Dear Mark,

    What are you going to do? Wave a magical wand and create jobs? Lower Taxes? Put more money in peoples pockets after you shut down the State for a tax increase? Or just blow hot air at everyone, mimic BO and look like you are doing something?

    Please reply.

    1. StraycatStrut says:

      Daytons campaign slogan…” For a Better Minnesota”……. so in the 8 months in office…… what has he done to make or improve Minnesota? Which direction is he going? Plans? Leadership….. “we’re waiting” …. (Ted Knight)….. “crickets”….. Tell me what exactly makes him better for MN?


        Let me think, what did we get from those Republican Idiots in the house and senate?


        1. Amy J says:

          Thats completely right. Dayton is not the one legislating, the house&senate are. Dayton can tell them what he wants but its up to them to make the bills. Dayton has the option to veto or sign, thats it. So if nothing got done, its thanks to those guys.

          1. StraycatStrut says:

            Then Daytons campaign slogans were misleading. He’s there for a “Better Minnesota”. remember… maybe better slogan: “I’ll hang out and wait and see Minnesota”.

          2. y says:

            OK, so all the complaints about Tim are really about the Democrats who controlled the house and the senate?

            By your reasoning, Tim had nothing to do with what happened.

            1. jimmy says:


              You’re a liar, Republicans controlled the house for 6 of the 8 years that Pawlenty was in office. The last 2 years Pawlenty used unconstitutional and illegal methods to get what he wanted destroying the state.

            2. Thank the Republican't Party. says:

              That’s right, when TP was in office he shut down the State Gov. and held-out until he and the republicans got what they wanted. All the accounting gimmicks and voodoo math to create the appearance of a balanced budget.

              The bad thing about this years deal is that the Republicans once again pulled the same old trick on us. They claim to have avoided tax hikes, while kicking the can down the road. But guess what Republicants? just as predicted by the revenue department and others, decreases in local Gov. aid and budget cuts = higher property taxes, higher tuition, higher unemployment, higher poverty level, higher number of uninsured.

              To the Republicants credit, they did accomplish their No.1 goal of protecting the richest Minnesotans from paying a single dollar more in taxes. GREAT F’ING JOB.

        2. Carl says:

          All under the Leadership of Mr Goofball the Democrat!

          1. Mary J says:

            Carly, the coach cant win the game by himself. if the offense and defense take through the game, you can’t blame it on the coach

        3. StraycatStrut says:

          So your reply to what Dayton is going to do…. has nothing. An emply glass.

        4. x says:

          But with a Democrat in the governor mansion, we should get:


          Yeah, right.

          1. Thank the Republican't Party. says:

            You do understand the positions taken by both sides before and during the negotiations right? At no point in time did the Republicans make it a goal of theirs to lower any of the following: tuition cost, property taxes, health care cost, or unemployment.

            All of the positions take by Republicans were about cutting, defunding, and pushing Republican Social Agendas.

            Dayton staked his position early on;. to make cuts less drastic, protect those most vulnerable, and protect the middle class. He proposed raising taxes on those who could afford to pay more, the Top 2%.

            Unfortunately for the rest of us, Dayton as well as the President have given in under hostage situations, in order to save the hostages (The middle and working class, the poor, the unemployed, Seniors, and the disabled).

            1. momof5 says:

              please tell me how the president or Mr Dayton are trying to save the middle and working class or for that matter seniors. I only see them out campaigning and saying what they think americans want to hear. My family couldn’t afford to go on a family vaction this year and where is Mr President right now??? My grandmother is 90plus and lives on about $40 a month after she pays for her apartment, thankfully for her my mom buys her personal hygeniue products, helps pay for her medication(she has diabetes) and other cost that she can’t afford.

              1. jimmy says:

                Like most conservatives you’re a narcissist.

                We’re all real sorry that you’re to lazy to work for your family to have a vacation.

                Also it is a shame that your grandma is such a burden on your mother and you. I do think it’s nice that your mother buys her mom hygiene products. That may help to keep the stink down when she dies alone in that apartment.

                1. we got a real brain here says:

                  well shucks there jimmy, you sound mighty bright.

    2. Architect says:

      Steven, do you slur your S when you say your name? Get a few facts straight:Obama did not save GM & Chrylser. They were given a loan that they are paying back. They always had the option of a BK restructure in that many feel would have been better. REformed healthcare: Just wait when this BK’s the entire country. Stopped W job bleeding. Unemplyments is up more than 30% since bozo took office. The armed forces under the same leadership as Bush got Bin Laden.
      Go back to Loring Park and tease the boys

  2. Carl says:

    I thought our politicians were paid to come up with ideas that would create jobs? So now you are going to travel around the State to find out exactly what? That people are out of work?
    Please propose something you bafoon!

  3. As expected says:

    I love that the very people that are most affected by this governor’s poor past and future decisions actually voted for him. I don’t think the voters realize or don’t pay attention that sometimes if you run toward the train, you are better off than running away from it.

  4. Garry Freeman says:

    Governor Dayton you have no specific idea or plan about jobs. Your party had the largest tax increase in Minnesota history when they were in power and yet they and you could not accept accountability that the deficit the state has is primarily your party’s fault. States like Texas and South Caroline are very good states to learn how to get jobs in this state. You are bought and paid for by Labor Unions, you will be as dismal failure as your presidential counterpart Barack Hussein Obama because you are “Dogs” on a leash and you dare not bite the “Hand” that feeds you.

    1. Steven Lancer says:

      Gary,,,you are so full of it…when you open your mouth to speak, turds fall out of it…nuff said!

      1. G.Young says:

        Typical.Someone leaves an inteligent comment and the liberal loser responds with a juvenile tirade…nuff said!!

      2. StraycatStrut says:

        Another empty glass comment

  5. Annette says:

    I did not see any job improvement over 8 years that T Paw was in office either!

    1. come on says:

      Annette, the analogy is the worst form of argument. Where would you like your EBT sent?

      1. M B says:

        Does it make her statement any less true? Ending your comment with a poorly obfuscated innuendo that she lives on welfare is pretty poor form as well. You are the last person who should be critiquing argument efficacy.

  6. Annette says:

    To Iowa! The straw vote down there said it all! T Paw was too busy running for president when he was gov. in MN. Time to do the work here not everywhere else? You on T. Paws payroll?

    1. come on says:

      Nope was never a big fan of Tpaw but there is correct and incorrect and Dayton is not correct. Running on a platform of taxing people that simply work harder than others, sacrificed, took risk and have a better and higher paying occupation can not be forgotten. You don’t punish those with initiative and drive, you should punish those without it.

    2. dan says:

      Quite an analogy. I guess I didnt see any of the news cast state that he lost due to the fact he was too busy running for president. You are an odd one arent you.

    3. Yes and says:

      And by “Time to do the work here not everwhere else” I presume you mean time to figure new ways to transfer income from productive people to you.

  7. Josh says:

    Sorry, but I am a conservative and always hated the posts that slammed the way Dayton looks…..but…that being said…..and I DO hate to say this…….it really does look like he is about to cry, or completely confused in every picture I see of him. Cant compare him to Pres Obama either….atleast he looks confident…which is about the only positive thing I can say about him.

  8. Lance says:

    Want jobs, want new industry in state, pass right to work.

    1. jimmy says:

      Name one industry that would move to Minnesota if this was a right to work state.

      1. Lance says:

        manufacturing primarily. Aerospace, automotive, etc. Most manufacturing (whats left) has moved out of the rust belt and into the south.

        1. jimmy says:


          Nonsense manufacturing in this state is already 95% non union. Aerospace is all ready in this state in a big way. So is the medical device industry and all other industries that need a highly educated, motivated work force.
          No sir all your right to work state would do is destroy the few well paying skilled jobs that are left.

          1. Jack says:

            what do you just grab numbers out of the air. You have no idea what your talking about.

          2. Lance says:

            You made my point, those industrys that are heavily unionized are staying out.

      2. Need work says:

        Name one industry that would move to this overtaxed state period?

        1. jeff says:

          yes yes yes. minnesota is so unattractive to companies. it’s such an ugly climate here for big businesses. please look up this link. i mean are you really serious??????

  9. Don't cry Mark says:

    Poor Mark. Already out of ideas. Is Wellstones green bus still running?

  10. HOTNIKE says:

    Sounds just like somebody that resides in the Oval Office. BLAH, BLAH, BLAH!!

  11. MKIA says:

    Minnesota “balanced the budget” by borrowing 640 MILLION dollars, to pay it back
    will will cost us 1BILLION to 1.3 Billion.
    Let that sink in real slow….

  12. Don Carter says:

    Do yourself and us a favor Mr Looneytoon – quit, get out, leave, get gone resign…Hazelton is calling…. your room is ready!

    1. Deep Thinker says:

      You know they have an open room? Is it the same one you just escaped from?
      You are such a classy person……………….

  13. okiedokie says:

    Kind of a hard article to read. I mean heck, without all of the blank pauses,stamering, and excess effort to string together a complete sentence it’s just not the same as listening to live.

  14. okiedokie says:

    Hey Mark,
    Quit your job like you did when you were a Senator and you can create one job.

    Rebuild MN one job at a time.

  15. Guy says:

    What can you do on jobs Governor Dayton? RESIGN. At least that will open up ONE position for someone more deserving and competant than you.

    1. Deep Thinker says:

      Wow, what a riveting & intelligent post. Where would we be without your input?

  16. Jake says:

    Wow, so many elementary school style posts on this subject, I might as wll move on to somehere else ehere I might actually have a chance of doing some GOOD.

  17. Sam says:

    You know what we need more of in this state?

    We need more single mothers with 8 kids on the public tete, sucking in $43,000 a year just for daycare.

    You want to know why working people are looking to the tea party? That is why.

    1. tough times in the ghetto says:

      Don’t forget sam, she was a “victim” of the shutdown.

  18. Ordinary Guy says:

    There are some real things they can promote without footing the bill for everything. For example, switching from corn ethanol to cellulose ethanol is an example of leadership that gives two cash crops instead of raising the consumer’s price or taxpayer’s cost on just one. In other ways they can lead, by taking our paid-for university research and implementing them into municipal improvements. An example is, growing algae biofuels and solving runoff pollution problems are two-for-one, without stiffing the taxpayer. Tons of ideas are out there for doing things better, but once the money gets going down one road it’s awfully hard to turn it. Jobs that pay there own way is what we need, and not all paid for with state money. One’s that improve things, use what we’ve paid for, and lower costs to the taxpayer, not the other way around.

  19. JOHN says:

    finding companies to move to Minnesota is a joke they only leave or merge and wave goodby like Honeywell,NWA etc and probably more to come its sad Ford closed down and left a good work force behind so they Minn wants to convert the plant to a strip mall and apts good deal as long as you have an enviromet like this one anti business dayton could travel to the moon and the result will still be zero like the emperature in winter he is worse than paw;enty

    1. Ordinary Guy says:

      You know you’re right, but take for instance China. Those company managers are an extension of the government it’s true, but one thing they do to tilt things in their favor, is to require “local content” of all that wish to sell them anything. That means that foreign companies must make it in China, if they wish to sell it there. It’s heavy-handed, but it works.

      On the other hand, look at “Cash for Clunkers” which probably sold more imported cars than American cars, and worse yet, even the American makes were assembled with 80% foreign-made parts. This is what we spent our bail-out money on? Does a “local content” requirement sound so stupid after that show? When they paint a bridge, they shouldn’t hire Texans to do it.

      I say, public money should be spent only on our citizens, not on imported anything. Maybe it’s not entirely possible, but it’s worth the effort.

    2. jeff says:

      i’ll say it again. if this is such an aweful place for business than why is it that we have the highest number of fortune 500 companies per capita in the united states. our unemployement is below the national average. why is that? because it’s just a dreadful business climate here? because there is a mass exodus of companies? that isn’t to say that we couldn’t do better to attract more busniesses here. i just disagree that the sole reason for any of this is because they are highly taxed. there is way more to it than taxes otherwise we’d have no fortune 500 companies here.

  20. momof5 says:

    You all should realize that both parties are to blame for both the federal and state economy downfalls. you are all fooling yourselves if you truly believe any politician cares about the average, middle class family. Both sides base their votes on who can line their pockets the most and which lobbist group is going to help them on their reelection bid You either have to be a single parent, not work or work for very little, and have 2 or more kids without a father or you have to be very very rich and can help contribute to a politican’s campaign before any politican will help you out. My husband and I both work 40 hrs, own our home, have 2 cars, and 5 children and we get no hand outs from the govt. We make decent money but by no means are we rich, we don’t go shopping every pay week, we don’t blow are money on alcohol or smokes, we don’t gamble, and we still struggle to make ends meet. It is frustrating when I see people, like my niece who has 3 kids and no father, leaves work early whenever she gets the chance because if she works too much she won’t get as much govt assistance, , she told someone she doesn’t have to buy school supplies because she qualifies for the “backpack” program our county offers where they give low income families free backpacks with school supplies in them, but then she goes out and buys her kids $80 tennis shoes and her kids are 8,2, and 4 months so all you people complaining about republicans or dems need to realize that unless you are under one of the catagories I listed above they really don’t care that you are out of a job, struggling to feed your family, or making your house payment because if they really did, they all would have come up with an idea on how to help the average american family.

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