Weather Forecast


Jeers to poor winter drivers

Cheers to Minnesota’s rebounding economy: The state now projects a surplus of over $1 billion for the remainder of the two-year budget cycle.

That good economic news is not happening everywhere in the country — Minnesota is one of the top economic performers in the nation.

Some of the surplus funds are committed to repaying financial loans and payment shifts made during troubled economic times a few years ago — when the state faced the worst financial downturn since the Great Depression.

The first $246 million must be used to complete repayment of the K-12 school property tax recognition shift.

Another $15 million will be transferred to the state airports fund, restoring money borrowed in 2008.

After that, the state will be squared up on its obligations, leaving a bottom line surplus of $825 million.

This could be a golden opportunity to eliminate three onerous business-to-business sales taxes, giving a boost to the state’s business climate.

There was also good news on the federal level with the release of November unemployment numbers — the economy added 203,000 jobs, lowering the national unemployment rate to 7 percent.

*** Jeers to reckless winter drivers.

Let’s face it; winter is here with a vengeance: It’s going to snow and the roads are going to get icy. Parents, talk to your young drivers about slowing down and using extra caution in the wintertime. And there are plenty of older drivers around who drive too fast and tailgate — and who ought to know better.

Are you one of them? Maybe you’re in a hurry — for a good reason, but still in a hurry.  Even if you have a big four-wheel-drive vehicle, it takes time to stop.

When the snow starts coming down is the time to be extra careful behind the wheel. Wear your seatbelt, drive a safe speed, don’t follow another vehicle too closely, turn on your headlights, and give yourself extra time to get where you’re going.

Better yet, evaluate whether you really need to go out at all in foul weather. Life’s too short to end up in the ditch, or in a fender-bender.

*** Cheers to Minnesota manufacturing. This from our sister newspaper in Alexandria:

The economic power of manufacturing is often overlooked. It shouldn’t be.

About 300,000 people work in manufacturing in Minnesota, primarily in such areas as computer and electronic products, foods, fabricated metal products and machinery, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Manufacturing contributes $40 billion to the state economy – 15 percent of Minnesota’s gross domestic product – and the industry accounted for $18.6 billion in state exports last year.

Salaries in the sector are much higher than most other industries in the state because many manufacturing jobs require high-tech skills to operate advanced technology and computer-controlled equipment.

The average manufacturing position in the state paid $58,760 last year, about $10,000 more than the typical job in Minnesota.