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  • Let's Grow Minnesota Together

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    Let’s grow Minnesota together
    By Doug Loon
    Minnesota lawmakers convene in less than a month. The collective voice of the Minnesota Chamber Federation is poised to advance another pro-growth agenda on behalf of businesses of all sizes and types across the state. Our priorities are aimed at strengthening Main Streets from International Falls to Worthington, Winona to Duluth, and all points in between.
    Our formula is straightforward. As Minnesota businesses change, our economy grows. That means greater economic opportunity for all Minnesotans.
    We made headway on several fronts at the 2017 Legislature, boosting investments to grow Minnesota’s economy. There’s additional opportunity this year.
    Tax competitiveness gained national headlines as Congress passed and President Trump signed the most far-reaching tax reform bill in 30 years. The federal tax bill creates the need and opportunity for our Legislature and Governor Dayton to rightsize Minnesota’s tax system for the benefit of individuals and businesses alike.
    Lawmakers must take steps to ensure Minnesota companies can compete in the global marketplace by enacting policies that encourage investment, entrepreneurship and growth. We rank among the top 10 states in too many tax categories that impose headwinds to Minnesota’s economic growth.
    • We have the third highest personal income tax. The burden affects thousands of businesses that pay business taxes through the individual income tax system and hinders the recruitment of talent.
    • We have the third highest corporate income tax. The tax is regressive, ultimately paid by consumers through higher prices for goods and services, lower wages for employees and lower returns for investors.
    • We are only one of 12 states with an estate tax. It makes it difficult to pass on small businesses and farms to the next generation and discourages retention of wealth within Minnesota.
    • We have some of the highest business property taxes. All businesses pay this fixed cost that is much higher than all of our neighboring states.
    Our other top legislative priorities for 2018 also focus on strengthening the state’s business environment.
    Workplace mandates: We must minimize workplace regulations so businesses spend less time complying with laws and have more time innovating and creating jobs. Lawmakers should ensure consistent statewide laws by explicitly prohibiting local governments from enacting wage and benefit mandates.
    Transportation: We must build on our successes from last year when the largest investment in roads and bridges was passed in 10 years without raising taxes or fees. Lawmakers should fully dedicate the rest of the currently collected sales tax on rental cars and auto parts to transportation.
    Affordability: A talented workforce remains among our greatest assets, but it is threatened by other factors. Lawmakers should give attention to affordable workforce housing, quality child care and targeted early childhood education.
    The Minnesota Chamber’s agenda is bolstered by our more than 40 local chamber Federation partners. We look forward to representing your interests once again at the Capitol. If we lead from ahead, we will remain there. It is up to us.
    Doug Loon is president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce – www.mnchamber.com.
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