Legislative Breakfast Business Ballot Results

April 2013 Business Ballot

A quality education is critical to the success of students and greatly impacts our future workforce. What should the State of Minnesota do to improve outcomes in the classroom for all learners? (Check all that apply.)

75% - The State should make a concerted effort on early learning and invest in programs that best prepare at-risk children for Kindergarten.

73% - The State, in partnership with local school districts, should work ensure that the K-12 education system is funded appropriately, with adequate graduation standards/testing and quality teachers in the classroom to best prepare students to compete in the workforce now and in the future.

65% - As tuition continues to rise, the State should work to ensure that post-secondary education opportunities are more affordable through Minnesota's State Grant program, allowing more students to attend college than would not be able to do so otherwise.

73% - Lifelong learning is critical to a nimble and well-qualified workforce. Specialized training and skills are necessary in the workforce and are acquired by attending schools outside of the traditional four-year college setting.

68% - The State should continue to focus on serious education reforms that will result in closing the achievement gap that exists in Minnesota schools.

March 2013 Business Ballot

It is very important to be sure your voice is heard at the Capitol this session on issues in the business community. Below are a few of the top issues TwinWest is working on this session from our TwinWest Business Agenda.

Please check issues of interest or concern to you/your business.

75% - The proposed Business to Business tax expansion is very concerning to my business.

57% - The proposed 4th Tier Income tax proposal is very concerning to me and my business.

The need for sustainable transportation and transit funding is important to my business so we can see critical projects move forward this session. 58% - Southwest Light Rail Transit         57% - Third Lane addition on 494 in Plymouth

37% - Bills to increase the minimum wage concern my business.

48% - The Healthcare Exchange Bill and negative impacts to businesses concern me.

February 2013 Business Ballot

The legislature is in full swing and is considering a myriad of proposals that will impact the business community.  How likely are you to do the following (or have done) to ensure your voice is heard:

71% - I have or will email legislators on issues that impact my business/community.

50% - I have or will call legislators on issues that impact my business/community.

56% - I have or will visit personally with legislators to talk about issues that impact my business/community.

42% - I have or will participate with the Chamber of Commerce or other trade association to visit the Capitol to show support for issues that impact my business/community.

9% - I don’t participate in contacting legislators to let them know how I feel on issues that impact my business/community.

January 2013 Business Ballot

Rank the following legislative issues in order of importance to you for the 2013 session that lawmakers and the Governor should accomplish? (1= highest, 5= lowest)

13% - Highest; 21% - Lowest: Education Reform (Continue to focus on student outcomes, closing the achievement gap, and aligning learning to best meet current and future workforce needs.)

10% - Highest; 15% - Lowest: Health Care Reform/Health Care Exchange (Structure the exchange around market-based, consumer driven principles reflecting both the quality of care and price.)

61% - Highest; 3% - Lowest: Tax Reform (Utilize current tax dollars more effectively. Reduce spending and enact reform in a revenue neutral manner.)

12% - Highest; 22% - Lowest: Property Tax Relief (Enhance property tax relief that goes directly to the taxpayer.  Repeal the statewide business property tax.  Ensure that suburban property taxpayers are not overburdened when compared to properties in the urban core and outstate Minnesota.)

18% - Highest; 28% Lowest: Transportation (Support funding for high priority projects and sustainable funding for a comprehensive multi-modal transportation system including: Southwest LRT, 3rd Lane on 494, completion of 610, improving 169 from 494 to 694.)

December 2012 Business Ballot

With DFL Majorities in both the Minnesota House and Senate, what should be the top priorities for the business community as they work with Governor Mark Dayton on Tax Reform? (Choose 1.)

27% - Tax reform, which includes spending reform and government reform, in a tax neutral environment.
- Tax reform, which focuses on spending shortfalls, with options to increase revenue and taxes.
- Tax reform, which focuses on greater efficiencies and strategic tax cuts in the State’s budget.
- All of the above should be part of a 2013 Tax Reform proposal.

When it comes to a comprehensive and competitive Metropolitan transportation/transit system and funding for the next several decades as population grows by nearly a million more people by 2040, I support the following: (Choose 1.)

05% - Expanding transportation options to ease growing congestion with additional road lanes only.
- Expanding transportation options to ease growing congestion with additional mass transit options only (bus, light rail).
79% - Expanding transportation options to ease growing congestion with a combination of additional road lands and mass transit options.

When it comes to expanding transportation/transit funding, Minnesota needs to: (Choose all that you support.)

58% - Increase funding/tax investments at the state level – general fund/bonding.
47% - Increase funding/tax investments at the state level – gas tax.
27% - Increase funding/tax investments at the regional level – local sales tax option.
04% - Increase funding/tax investments at the local level – property taxes.
11% - I don’t support any new funding.

November 2012 Business Ballot

With the National and State elections over, what do you think about the impact of the results on our economy?

49% - I have more confidence that our economy and job growth will strengthen.
51% - I have less confidence that our economy will strengthen and I think jobs will be harder to create in the private sector.

Are you more or less optimistic that the Federal Government, with a divided Congress, can solve our nation’s great economic and fiscal challenges?

28% - I am more optimistic.
36% - I am less optimistic.
36% - I am unsure.  Time will tell.

Are you more or less optimistic that State Government under DFL leadership can solve Minnesota’s ongoing budget woes?

48% - I am more optimistic.
34% - I am less optimistic.
18% - I am unsure.  Time will tell.

October 2012 Business Ballot

Who is going to be victorious in the Presidential race? (Choose one.)

41% - President Barack Obama
39% - Mitt Romney
20% - Too Close to Call

In Minnesota, will Republicans be victorious on November 6 and retain control of the Legislature? (Choose one.)

52% - Yes, Republicans will retain control of both the Minnesota House and Senate.
- Republicans will retain control of the House, but Democrats will regain control of the Senate.
- Republicans will retain control of the Senate, but Democrats will regain control of the House.
- No, Democrats will regain control of both the Minnesota House and Senate.

September 2012 Business Ballot

Do you think the current Caucus system is working well for Minnesota as it relates to the candidates that end of on the ballot in November?  Or do you think that going to an Open Primary system would be better as it relates to the quality of candidates on the ballot? (Choose all that apply.)

25% - I think the Caucus system works great.  People should engage at the grassroots level early to get involved with choosing and endorsing candidates.  The system belongs to those who show up.  If people don’t attend their Caucuses, then they should not complain about who ends up on the ballot in November.

65% - I think that Minnesota should move to an Open Primary system to select which candidates will move on to the General Election in November.  This would allow a broader group of people the ability to vote from a larger pool of candidates to determine who they believe best fits their interests and those of their district.

10% - I don’t have an opinion either way or am not that familiar with either system.

June 2012 Business Ballot

With the 2012 election season heating up, political parties are working harder than ever to convince voters that they have the right message, values, principles, and slate of candidates on Election Day.  But political times are changing, as are the parties.  What are your feelings on political parties? (Choose all that apply.)

56% - I identify strongly with a political party and tend to vote straight party line.
Choose which party you strongly identify with:  42% - MN DFL; 55% - MN GOP; 3% - Independence Party of MN

12% - I used to be involved in party politics/caucuses, but I am not involved anymore.

32% - I don’t align with any particular party, I vote for the best candidates on the ballot regardless of party.

53% - I think the parties have become too polarized and are not good for the political process.

27% - I think a strong party system is a good thing and political differences are part of elections and governing.

May 2012 Business Ballot

The Vikings Stadium issue at the Capitol has dominated the headlines during the final days of session.  There is still a great divide between Governor Dayton’s plan to build a new Vikings Stadium and the GOP controlled legislature. Multiple proposals and bill amendments have surfaced in the last week from GOP legislators.  But no plan can reach enough support and consensus between the Governor, GOP House/Senate, DFL House/Senate to secure enough votes to finalize a deal.  What do you think they should do?  (Check one.)

12% - I don’t support a new Vikings Stadium.  Taxpayer dollars should not be part of the deal. The Governor and Legislature should pass bills that address more important Minnesota priorities like creating a more business-friendly climate.

22% - I totally support a new Vikings Stadium. This issue is very important to Minnesota’s economy and quality of life. I think the Vikings will leave the state and it will cost Minnesotans more in the end if a deal isn’t struck this session.

65% - The Governor and GOP Leadership should step up and compromise on important issues like the Vikings Stadium, Education Reform- LIFO, Bonding Bill – including Southwest Light Rail Transit, Tax Bill - including Business Property Tax Relief and move Minnesota forward now.

1% - I don’t care one way or another. It’s just politics as usual. Not much will be accomplished this session and it will be a nasty election year.

April 2012 Business Ballot

In today’s global economy, a highly skilled and educated workforce is very important to the success of Minnesota businesses. The TwinWest area is home to several successful and innovative school districts, which serve as models for districts throughout the state. Statewide, however, employers continue to report that high school and college graduates are often unprepared for the demands of the workplace.

Do you agree/disagree with the following education reform initiatives?

Systems, standards, and test results need to reflect the demands of a global economy.  90% agreed

The state should tie teacher effectiveness to pay based on performance and should consider effectiveness when facing lay-offs.  95% agreed

The K-12 funding formula should be simplified with added accountability to the system.  95% agreed

Minnesota must support its future workforce by investing in early childhood education.  85% agreed

March 2012 Business Ballot

The 2012 Legislative Session is traditionally considered a bonding year.  Governor Dayton has proposed a $775 million bonding bill.  The GOP-controlled House and Senate are in the process of putting together their respective bonding bills.  What are your thoughts on bonding this year?

46% - I support a bonding bill at $775 million or higher. Interest rates are low and there are many capital projects statewide and within our region that require funding now rather than later.

54% - I support a bonding bill that is much less than $775 million.  With a slow economic recovery, that state should be conservative with bonding this year and keep projects to a minimum that are critical in nature.

There is much emphasis on the importance of jobs and the economy at the legislature and by the Governor this session.  However, there are significant differences between DFL and GOP legislators and the Governor on what constitutes a real “jobs” bill.  What qualifies as a “jobs” bill in your estimation?

50% - A “jobs” bill is one that reduces business regulations, tax burdens, and promotes a strong workforce so businesses can expand, add jobs, and be attracted to locate in Minnesota.

10% - A “jobs” bill is one that includes spending bills such as the bonding bill which helps to create jobs and spur economic growth.

40% - It’s a combination of both options listed above.

February 2012 Business Ballot

Did you participate in this week’s February 7 Minnesota Political Caucuses?

28% - Yes, and I have done so in the past.

01% - Yes, it was my first time.

43% - No, I have never gone.

28% - No, I used to go but am no longer interested.

If you didn’t participate in the Caucuses, why not?

22% - I don’t know much about it and don’t participate.

36% - I had a schedule conflict.

17% - I dislike political party involvement.

25% - Other

January 2012 Business Ballot

Do you anticipate the number of jobs at your organization changing in the next six months? (Choose one.)

39% - Increasing 1% - Decreasing    60% - No change

In 2012, will the actions of the state legislature and Governor impact your decisions to hire employees? (Choose one.)

20% - Yes, I will watch lawmakers closely when making hiring decisions.

40% - No, lawmakers’ actions generally do not impact my hiring decisions.

40% - Possibly, depending on the actions of lawmakers, my hiring decisions may be impacted.

Rank the following as most important for your organization:

83% - State government needs to institute long term reforms and budget changes in 2012 so there is less volatility in the state budget.

10% - State government needs to make short term reform and budget changes in 2012 to meet existing demands.

7% - State government should make no major reform or budget changes in 2012.

December 2011 Business Ballot

The Governor and lawmakers received some good news on December 1. The revenue forecast report shows Minnesota's budget is running a surplus of $876 million for the remainder of this biennium. The news is a surprise to many lawmakers who have been expecting a budget shortfall. The report also projected a deficit of $1.3 billion for fiscal years 2014-15. What should the Governor and Legislature do during the 2012 Session regarding taxing and spending priorities?

The Governor and Legislature should hold the line on/reduce spending and keep flat/cut taxes to help grow the economy.
85 %
- Agree     15% - Disagree

The Governor and Legislature should consider raising taxes/fees to fund important priorities and programs in the state that have suffered cuts in recent years.
- Agree     69% - Disagree

The Governor and Legislature should work to stabilize future revenue and begin major tax reform efforts this session to avoid large budget deficits in the future.
- Agree     0% - Disagree

The Governor and Legislature should work to build back the state’s reserves and repay school districts the money that is owed as a result of the budget deal struck last July that ended the government shutdown.
- Agree     11% - Disagree

The Governor and Legislature should work to provide greater property tax relief to homeowners and businesses.
- Agree     30% - Disagree

November 2011 Business Ballot

What are your thoughts on health care reform and its impacts on Minnesota? (Check if you agree or disagree.)

Due to Federal Government health care reform mandates, Minnesota should put forward a health care exchange system with marketplace-based principles.
85% - Agree     15% - Disagree

Due to Federal Government health care reform mandates, Minnesota should put forward a health care exchange system that has strong state government regulatory role and oversight with less emphasis on marketplace-based principles.
17% - Agree     83% - Disagree

Minnesota should not put forward a health care exchange; we should let the Federal Government determine what system we operate under.
9% - Agree     91% - Disagree

Minnesota should oppose the Federal Government’s health care reform, as other states have done, due to the challenge that it is unconstitutional and Congress, under its powers to regulate interstate commerce, does not have the authority to mandate individuals to carry insurance if they don’t want to.
61% - Agree     39% - Disagree

October 2011 Business Ballot

Our October Legislative Breakfast centered around Reform 2.0 and government reform in general.  We asked you to rank areas of reform listed on the business ballot in order of importance to your business or organization?

62% ranked very high/high - Taxation:  reform the system to improve Minnesota’s competitiveness to expand businesses, grow jobs, and encourage businesses to locate in our state.

41% ranked very high/high - Regulation: reform regulatory systems to streamline state approvals and remove burdensome mandates that stifle business expansion and job growth.

47% ranked very high/high - Education: reform the system to ensure an effective teacher is in every classroom, restore funding shifts to school districts to strengthen their financial positions, and require educational outcomes for all students that best prepare them to compete in Minnesota’s future workforce.

28% ranked very high/high - Property Taxes: reform and simplify Minnesota’s property tax system, increase transparency, reduce dependence of local governments on unstable state aids and credits, and strengthen local control.

33% ranked very high/high - Health Care: as federal reforms are implemented in Minnesota, encourage private sector market competition, reform systems to empower consumers with more information, responsibility, power, and choice.

September 2011 Business Ballot

As economic recovery continues to top headlines and recent jobs reports show improvement in Minnesota, what is your business/organization seeing as it relates to jobs and investments?

26% -  We are adding employees and/or making substantial capital investments in the business/organization.

47% - We are cautiously considering adding employees and/or making minor investments in the business.

25% - We are not considering adding new employees and/or making any major investments in the business at this time.

2% - We are downsizing and/or cutting budgets and are not seeing economic recovery at this point in time.

June 2011 Business Ballot

With a budget showdown taking place between the GOP Legislative Leadership and Governor Dayton, many believe a government shutdown is imminent.  What will be the impacts to your business or organization if there is a government shutdown on July 1?

37% - A shutdown will have virtually no impact that our business/organization can foresee.

50% - There may be some impacts and we are waiting to see what happens or making plans in the event of a shutdown.

13% - There will be significant impacts and we are making plans and preparations if a shutdown occurs.

May 2011 Business Ballot

Bills have been introduced this session to give Minnesota voters a say in changing the state constitution. The legislation would put before the voters, during the 2012 general election, a question of whether or not to approve a constitutional amendment that any bill which increases the state income, sales, or property taxes would require three-fifths (rather than the current simple majority) of each house of the Legislature to vote in the affirmative.

Supporters say that this is a necessary measure to reign in state spending and make it harder to raise revenue.  Opponents say that this could hurt state and local credit ratings, diminish the state’s ability to respond during emergency situations, and erode representative governance.

Do you support sending this question to the voters in 2012 and do you think it’s a good idea to pass such an amendment?

32% - Yes, I support allowing voters the choice to amend the state constitution to make it harder to increase revenue and I would vote YES to do so.

40% - No, I do not support allowing voters the choice to amend the state constitution to make it harder to increase revenue and I would vote NO to do so.

28% - I am not sure and need more time to consider the pros and cons to such a proposal and the impacts it may have on the state’s budget and governance.

April 2011 Business Ballot

It’s common practice in the business community to conduct performance reviews regularly to see if outcomes and goals are being met.  With the 2011 Legislative Session in full swing, we would like to get your take on whether or not you think the Governor and Legislators are meeting your expectations during these challenging economic times, with an appropriate focus on growing jobs and the economy. Rank your job performance review with “1” being the lowest job approval and “5” being the highest job approval. Circle your selection for each.

Governor Mark Dayton
8%-1               28%-2               27%-3               30%-4               7%-5
The Republican Majority Leadership in the Minnesota House and Senate
14%-1               16%-2               23%-3               25%-4               22%-5
The DFL Minority Leadership in the Minnesota House and Senate
22%-1               34%-2               31%-3               12%-4               1%-5
My State Representative
19%-1               9%-2               23%-3               23%-4               26%-5
My State Senator
16%-1               11%-2               21%-3               28%-4               26%-5

March 2011 Business Ballot

As Governor Dayton and Republican leaders in the House and Senate grapple with solutions to the State’s
$5 billion deficit, there remains a huge divide on how to do just that.  Some say that if a compromise cannot be reached by the May 23 end of session deadline, a government shutdown may be the result.  What do you think about the possibility of a State government shutdown?

42% - A State government shutdown should be avoided at all costs.  Legislators and the Governor need to get their work done on time.

42% - A State government shutdown is not ideal, but it may be necessary to force both sides to find real solutions after the Legislative Session ends.

16% - A State government shutdown is acceptable to me.  The $5 billion deficit will require overtime. But it may be a long summer before solutions are agreed to.

February 2011 Business Ballot

As part of his State of the State address this week, Governor Dayton renewed his call for every business in Minnesota to adopt a school, college, or university and become actively involved in making them better.  What support or involvement does your organization actively have with schools? (Choose all that apply.) 


55% - My business/organization supports students in local schools/colleges/universities through financial contributions or the donation of material goods.

45% - My business/organization supports students in local schools/colleges/universities through employee volunteerism opportunities.

42% - My business/organization is involved in local schools/colleges/universities through business-education programs or in a business-education leadership role.

8% - My business/organization does not currently participate in activities that support local schools/colleges/universities, but I am interested in pursuing some form of involvement.

11% - My business/organization does not currently participate in activities that support local schools/colleges/universities due to a lack of resources or otherwise.

What does the term “adopt a school, college, or university” mean to your business? (Choose one.)

80% - Business support is key to meeting the needs of schools/colleges/universities to ensure their success.

20% - Government cannot meet the needs of schools and, therefore, my business is being asked to help “fill the gap.”

January 2011 Business Ballot

Do you support Governor Dayton’s decision to sign an executive order this month opting Minnesota into the expanded Medicaid program? (Choose one.)

38% - Yes, it could bring in an additional $1.4 billion dollars of federal health care money to the state to serve as many as 95,000 low-income Minnesotans, many receiving coverage from General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC) or MinnesotaCare, which ultimately saves the state health care dollars.
52% - No, it is an expansion of the federal government into health care which does little to reduce the rate of growth in health care costs for Minnesota, and which still leaves about $119 million in the next biennium for the state’s general fund to pick up in costs for the program.
10% - I am not sure.

With the Legislature and Governor facing a $6.2 billion shortfall, and the ever-present need to fund transportation projects and systems that move goods and services throughout our state, do you believe the Legislature and Governor should support a bonding bill this session?  (Choose one.)

62% - Yes, there are important transportation projects for the region and state that should move forward which will benefit the business community and provide for construction jobs during this difficult economy.
34% - No, given the state of the economy and the $6.2 billion deficit facing the Minnesota, the Legislature should not move forward on a bonding bill this session.
4% - I am not sure.

December 2010 Business Ballot

With new Republican majorities in both the House and the Senate, and with Democrat Mark Dayton serving as Minnesota’s next Governor, when do you think a budget deal will be reached during the 2011 Legislative Session? (Choose one.)

6% - Budget proposals will be released and an agreement will be reached early in the Session.
15% - Budget proposals will be released, but they will vary widely between the Republican controlled Legislature and DFL Governor.  Agreement won’t be reached until mid-Session.
63% - Budget negotiations between the Republican controlled Legislature and DFL Governor will take until the final days of Session to reach agreement.
16% - There will be a budget showdown between the Republican controlled Legislature and DFL Governor.  A Special Session will likely be called and there may be a government shut down as a result.

With respect to the current state of the economy, which is most true for your business or organization?  (Choose one.)

18% - The economy is still really taking its toll on my business/organization and we continue to be in cut-back mode.
- My business/organization is seeing some stabilization, but we are in a wait-and-see mode and not expanding jobs and/or making major expenditures.
- My business/organization is seeing some increases in economic activity that are benefiting the bottom line and we are making modest investments in jobs and/or business expenditures.
- My business/organization is growing and we are increasing jobs and/or business expenditures.

November 2010 Business Ballot

How would you propose solving the state’s projected $6 billion dollar deficit over the next biennium?

Balancing the budget should include (choose one):

46% - Spending reductions and no tax increases.

11% - Spending reductions and raising taxes on high income earners.

32% - Spending reductions and broadening the sales tax to clothes and some services, as long as there are business tax reduction offsets.

11% - Spending increases and tax increases – we will all have to pay one way or another anyway.

With a newly elected Republican majority in both the Minnesota House and Senate and presuming Mark Dayton prevails as Minnesota’s next Governor, do you think there will be outcomes from the 2011 legislative session that advance pro-business job growth and economic recovery for the state?

80% - Yes, they will figure out a way to pass a budget and legislation that moves Minnesota’s economy forward.

20% - No, the legislature and Governor will gridlock and permanent solutions will not be reached.



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