Monday, January 9, 2017

In response to my post...

...on why, among other things, Minnesota is outpacing Wisconsin economically, a reader brought to my attention an article in Chicago Magazine, "How Minneapolis Is Growing As Chicago Shrinks," that credits, among other things, tax policy.

It's a good piece, but it doesn't answer the question of why so many (at least 50 since 2007) companies are relocating to Chicago from its suburbs. Now, before you jump all over me because the two articles are not comparing apples to apples, it still begs the question, why is Chicago, with all its "problems," still attracting a lot of high-profile companies? Why aren't they moving to Minnesota with all its advantages, or low-tax Wisconsin?

And here, I think, is what I was getting at in my original post: maybe there's something going on that's less quantifiable than tax policy to explain the robustness of Chicago's economy. Maybe it's something as simple as the critical mass of young, well-educated professionals who would rather live in Wicker Park (like my nephew) than Edina or Whitefish Bay.

I remember when my brother-in-law had a lead on a good job in Milwaukee for my son after he graduated from college. "Do I really have to live in Milwaukee?" he said. Most of the people he knew were moving to cool places like New York or San Francisco or even Washington, D. C.

So, again, maybe there's something we just don't know that results in the Twin Cities having such a dynamic economy. Maybe people just work harder in the cold. (Then why isn't Alaska an economic powerhouse?) Maybe it's something subtle that we just don't know yet.

1 comment:

Ed Crotty said...

Absolutely - San Francisco and NYC have the highest taxes in the country, yet are *the* places to be for tech and/or finance. So taxes are definitely not the most important thing. The availability of talented people is the most important thing. Minnesota is "growing their own"- Chicago continues to be able to draw them in from Michigan, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin.
Chicago's "shrinking" is due to the closing of public housing and gentrification. Pre-gentrification a 3 flat might have 3 (poor) familiies with 7 in each apartment. Post-gentification that same address is a single family home with 2 DINKs and a purse dog. Meanwhile, the old tenants have moved to one of the inner ring suburbs.