Better economy? Minnesota or Wisconsin

There’s a Minnesota-Wisconsin sport that has nothing to do with football. The game, loosely titled, is, Which Economy is Better?

It’s played mostly by people in business suits who seem perpetually convinced the other guys are winning.

On this side of the border it always seems like someone’s talking about Wisconsin’s great business climate and how good they are at luring business across the St. Croix.

The most recent chapter in that story came last week when a biotech firm with its roots at the University of Minnesota announced it was moving to Wisconsin.

Then on Saturday, we read, “Wisconsin doing poorly on jobs and personal income,” where the guy who co-chaired Gov. Jim Doyle’s Economic Growth Council laments how Wisconsin is losing ground to other states — especially Minnesota and (insert gasp) Iowa!

Part of it is politics. Seems impossible to be the public leader who says, “Everything’s great here!”

But we also tend to judge these things in terms of dollars and cents — taxes, incentives, etc. Really, though, it’s quality of life — crime, education, recreation — that compels people to stay or leave and the economy to prosper or struggle.

Just ask Baltimore.

Consider this the first in an occasional series of posts where we look at a statement from someone in Minnesota saying Wisconsin’s got a better economy or someone from Wisconsin saying Minnesota’s doing better. We’ll ask: Does it matter?

Send me your entries and we’ll post them. Or just post below.

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