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Published December 16 2010

Pawlenty talks jobs, growth

In an appearance described as part of a “farewell tour” through Minnesota, outgoing Gov. Tim Pawlenty visited Moorhead on Wednesday to speak on job creation, the economy and fiscal responsibility in government.

The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce hosted Pawlenty, who praised organizations like the chamber as groups with an opportunity to impact economic policy “at a grass-roots level.”

He said a high quality of life in Minnesota depends on maintaining access to jobs and economic opportunity – a task he said falls to business leaders rather than politicians.

He pointed to unemployment and job growth rates that beat the national average as signs the state is moving in the right direction, but said Minnesota needs to reduce the costs of doing business in the state – taxes, permitting costs, energy costs, worker’s compensation – to remain competitive.

Pawlenty said the fiscal challenges facing government are “mathematically defined” – a phrase he invoked a number of times to emphasize the idea that the current trajectory of government spending is unsustainable. He said compensation for public employees has grown out of line with private-sector compensation and needs to be reined in.

Between his prepared remarks and questions from the audience, Pawlenty touched on a range of topics, including:

Readers can reach Forum reporter Marino Eccher at (701) 241-5502