Good news: Donkeys, cars, wages and business climate

Need more than sunshine to get the week off to a good start? Try these four good news stories: 

Story #1: Donkeys powering the internet in Turkey — BBC has the story about donkeys toting solar panels to power the internet for herdsmen. (Screen shot above.) Now that’s green energy!

Story #2: Closer to home, the Strib starts with a glowing description of the pricey Tesla electric car, but eventually tells us about a plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt in Stillwater that went 1,200 miles on five gallons of gas in the summer, and averaged 42 miles per gallon in the challenging cold of last January. Minneapolis is adding more charging stalls for electric cars, which are estimated to number 2,400 in Minnesota.

Story #3: Minimum wages keep going up, despite Congressional foot-dragging at the national level. The latest: Ikea has raised minimum wages for its employees, to an average of $10.76 an hour across the country, and Massachusetts has raised its minimum wage, going to $11 an hour by 2017.

Story #4: Minneapolis gets high ratings for business climate from KPMG, an international audit, tax and advisory firm. KPMG’s 2014 Competitive Alternatives: Focus on Tax study ranked 51 large international cities, with Minneapolis coming in at number 17 for the most competitive tax structure. Seven U.S. cities ranked higher, and 22 ranked lower. The Strib quoted Minnesota Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans: “There’s a trade-off and you can search for the lowest-tax [states such as Louisiana], but there aren’t always economic growth and opportunity that go with them.”

In scoring “America’s top states for business 2014,” CNBC ranked Minnesota as sixth.

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