Friday, December 27, 2013

We're in the positive top 10!

we have a sense of humor
Better than we did under that brief period of a Republican lege....  these rankings should bode well for the 2014 election cycle.

In three different listings of best and worst states, Minnesota came in as number 5 in states with the fastest growing economies.
5. Minnesota
> GDP growth: 3.5% (tied for 5th highest)
> Real 2012 GDP: $253.0 billion (17th largest)
> 1-yr. population change: 0.60% (25th lowest)
> 1-yr. employment growth: 0.88% (23rd lowest)

With a little mixed review of how we ranked 5th
Minnesota had one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates in 2012, at just 5.6%, and one of its highest GDP growth rates, at 3.5%. Finance and insurance contributed 0.63 percentage points to the state’s growth — more than all but four other states and roughly twice the industry’s contribution nationwide. Currently, the finance and insurance sector accounts for almost 10% of the state’s GDP, among the higher percentages of all states. However, this relatively robust GDP growth did not translate into an equally robust jobs growth; more than half of all states grew jobs at a faster pace than Minnesota.

And we were also in the top 10 for best run states, in best-and-worst run state rankings , where we came in 7th, just behind Vermont:
7. Minnesota
> Debt per capita: $2,421 (14th lowest)
> Budget deficit: 22.4% (6th largest)
> Unemployment: 5.6% (9th lowest)
> Median household income: $58,906 (9th highest)
> Pct. below poverty line: 11.4% (7th lowest)

Minnesota received top marks in a number of areas. More than 92% of Minnesota adults 25 and older were high school graduates as of 2012, the second-highest percentage in the nation. Additionally, just 8% of residents lacked health care coverage, trailing only three other states. The state’s poverty and violent crime rates were also among the nation’s lowest. The state’s economy was strong, as well, with a GDP growth rate of 3.5% in 2012, an unemployment rate of just 5.6%, and a median income of nearly $59,000, all of which were among the best in the nation. However, Minnesota receives low marks for its burdensome business tax climate, due in part to the state’s retroactive income tax hike on top earners. It also had one of the nation’s largest budget shortfalls for the 2012 fiscal year.

Where the fastest growing economy rating notes lower job growth, it is worth noting that we have among the lowest levels of unemployment in our state, compared to other states, which seems a little bit of a contradiction...  I think some of the criticism leveled here is perhaps either not quite current and also not entirely on target.

Two lists Minnesota did NOT make were the 10 most Dangerous States, and the 10 States with the Most Gun Violence.  Those rankings have a lot to do with social and economic issues, like poverty and poor educational outcomes.  But it also has a lot to do with lax gun laws, something we should be considering when the GOP in our lege try to push through more lenient gun laws:
The states on this list with higher gun violence tend to have much less stringent gun laws than other states with less violence like New Jersey, Connecticut and Hawaii. For instance, none of the states on with the highest gun violence require permits for handgun purchases. In the 10 states with the lowest gun violence, seven have this requirement, including all six states with the lowest levels of gun violence. The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence gave seven of the 10 states an F for their gun control policies, with the remaining three receiving a D or D–.

Even as President Obama and leaders in states such as New York and Connecticut have pushed for tighter gun control following high-profile mass shootings in the past couple of years, these states have moved in the opposite direction.

For instance, Louisiana voters last month approved a constitutional amendment requiring a very high standard for gun control legislation to be enacted in the state. Louisiana has the highest rate of gun violence in the country. Alabama Senators voted earlier this month to allow gun owners to keep firearms locked in their car while at work regardless of their employer’s opinion.

Of course, not everyone agrees with the Center for American Progress. In states with looser gun laws, homicides could be higher since more people are able to use a gun to defend themselves, argues David Kopel, research director for the conservative think tank Independence Institute. He estimates that anywhere between 7% and 12% of homicides consist of self-defense, in addition to countless cases where law-abiding gun owners serve as a deterrent.

The Center for American Progress “only look at the harm of guns and refuse to take into account any deterrent or self-defense effect of firearms,” Kopel said in an interview.

Chelsea Parsons, associate director of crime and firearms policy at the Center and a co-author of this report, responded by saying the report measures all gun violence and not just homicides. “The numbers speak for themselves,” she said. She added that the fact that the states with fewer gun restrictions tend to have more gun deaths and injuries “is likely more than a coincidence.”

But stricter gun control laws alone may not solve these states’ gun violence problems. All but one state on this list had property crime rates in 2011 that were in the top half of all states. Seven of the states on this list are among the top 10 in terms of property crime, including all the top four states. The high rates of property crimes, which generally do not involve the use of firearms, indicate a more complex crime problem in these states.

Based on data provided by the Center for American Progress, 24/7 Wall St. analyzed the 10 states with the most gun violence. These rankings were based on 10 different criteria, including 2010 firearm homicide deaths per 100,000 people and 2011 firearm-related aggravated assaults. Calculated by the Center, the average rank among all states for each criteria was used to determine the ranking. We also considered data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, such as a state’s crime rate per 100,000 people and property crime rates, as well as the crime rates for large metropolitan areas. Gun laws by state were compiled by the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action and various news outlets. All data are for the most recent available years.

That third state comparison where Minnesota did well? Excercise!

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