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Caterpillar Flees Minnesota

Once a backdrop for President Obama’s campaign to pass the Stimilus Bill in 2009, Caterpillar Inc. is making a mad dash for the border and they are leaving 100 employees behind.

Caterpillar’s Owatonna, MN production plant will cease production in March 2013, according to executives who met with the 100 laid-off workers just 2 days after the November 6th election.

“We value our employees’ contributions, and these actions are not a reflection of them, but rather the result of a need to make our business more efficient and competitive,” Caterpillar said in a statement.

Given the timing of the announcement and the outcomes in Minnesota state legislative races, one has to assume the move is at least in part politically motivated.

In 2010, on the wave of Tea Party and liberty-minded activists throughout the country, Minnesota’s state legislature saw a Republican led House and Senate for the first time in decades. The state had a $6.2 billion deficit at the time, despite having a Democrat governor. Just 2 years later, the Democrat party will again take control of the legislature and budget, now with a $1.2 billion surplus and no Republicans to stop the taxes and spending.

According to The Tax Foundation, a non-partisan tax research group in Washington, DC, Minnesota ranks 45th in the country on the State Business Tax Climate Index. It should be no surprise that companies will continue to leave Minnesota if the tax climate remains dismal. Others have already left or laid off thousands of employees in recent years including State Farm, Polaris and Lockheed Martin.

Caterpillar is one of many companies moving to more business-friendly states, decreasing their work force or closing shop altogether. The list of companies announcing layoffs and closings includes big names like Energizer, Bristol-Meyers, US Cellular and Boeing.

Ohio-based Murray Energy is the country’s largest privately owned coal mining company. CEO Robert Murray announced layoffs for more than 100 workers citing the reelection of President Obama and the administration’s “war on coal” as deciding factors.

Perhaps the American worker should have focused more on the Obama administration’s very real “war on jobs” and less on the manufactured “war on women.”

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