People in Minnesota and around the country are doing a double-take as the state is now projecting a $876 million surplus over the next two years. Remember last summer? That’s when Minnesota suffered through a 20-day government shutdown because of its $5 billion deficit.

What happened?

From the pages of The Washington Post::

As it turns out, cuts from previous budgets helped, but it was the state’s economic recovery that led to the surprise surplus.

The heroes? Minnesota businesses.

“Obviously the private sector deserves huge credit,” said Larry Jacobs, a University of Minnesota political scientist. “Minnesota has had a remarkable economy."

Minnesota has gained back a third of jobs it lost in the recession, and all job sectors in the state are trending upward.

But wait—there’s more to the economic rebound:

“We would not have a surplus if we had not had significant cuts in spending,” said Jacobs. “The key point to note here is this is a surplus after sharp cuts over a long period of time.”

Minnesota’s turnaround is truly amazing and should be seen as a model for Connecticut.

Our economic-base industries and skilled workforce are the envy of most states; and we are home to some of the world’s most admired and innovative companies. The potential is here.

After the good first steps of the fall special session on jobs, Connecticut policymakers should take a page from the Minnesota playbook and do what they can to equip our private-sector employers to–once again–drive our economy and create jobs.