Minnesota's statehouse is controlled by the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, which is pushing ahead with a slew of progressive initiatives, including tax hikes on the wealthy and gay marriage. Meanwhile Wisconsin, in firm Republican control, has become a laboratory for conservative social, economic and environmental experimentation.
"Obviously, firm answers will require more time and more data, but the first round of evidence gives the edge to Minnesota’s model of increased services, higher costs (mostly for the affluent) and reduced payments to entrenched interests like the insurers who cover the Medicaid population."
Minnesota, notes Jacobs, is the fifth fastest-growing state economy, along with California, a state whose high taxes and budget problems several years ago had conservatives predicting its economic demise.
The other major differences Jacobs notes will make progressives salivate: "While the state’s Constitution required that half of the new revenue balance the budget in 2013, Mr. Dayton invested 71 percent of the remaining funds in K-12 schools and higher education as well as a pair of firsts: all-day kindergarten and wider access to early childhood education. Minnesota was one of the few states that raised education spending under the cloud of the Great Recession."
Wisconsin, in contrast, made the seventh deepest cut to K-12 education in the nation.
Maybe our own Ned Flanders, who maintains domiciles in both states, can comment.