Rep. Paul Marquart, Published July 27 2013
Letter: Chamber message is too bleakThe 2013 Minnesota legislative session was very beneficial for rural Minnesota and our state’s economy is getting stronger by the day. The future is looking bright for Minnesota.
That is why I was very surprised to see the recent “gloom and doom” column by Minnesota Chamber of Commerce President David Olson. I’m glad he’s not in charge of our state’s “Welcome Wagon.”
Minnesota is on track to exceed the state’s single-year record for new business filings, is home to 19 Fortune 500 companies, has the nation’s fifth-fastest-growing economy and the state’s unemployment rate at 5.2 percent is ninth-best in the country.
Even with a strengthening economy, economic challenges have developed over the years along the Minnesota and North Dakota border. That is why Gov. Mark Dayton and the Legislature changed strategy and fixed the
$627 million budget deficit honestly without using one-time fixes or gimmicks. This new strategy created a stable and stronger budget into the future and allowed the Legislature to make important investments vital to the future success of small businesses, including significant border cities legislation.
Instead of calling for an unnecessary special session, here is what Olson should have told you about the new laws that will benefit businesses.
- The historic education bill provides huge investments in early education and fully funds all-day, every-day kindergarten while ensuring students are on the path to provide businesses with the “world’s best workforce” in the future.
- A two-year tuition freeze for students attending college will help businesses find highly qualified and educated workers to meet the skills demand of an ever-changing economy.
- Businesses get property tax relief due to an increase of $130 million a year in Local Government Aid. A new Homestead Credit Refund provides significant property tax relief to homeowners and gives residents more purchasing power to help businesses.
- The new jobs bill provides $30 million for new and expanding businesses.
- Unemployment insurance taxes were cut, saving Minnesota businesses $347 million to invest in their business and our economy.
- Our nursing homes, major employers in rural communities, receive a 5 percent funding increase after several years of stagnant funding.
- Huge tax breaks for economic development projects around the state at the Mayo Clinic, the Mall of America and 3M’s headquarters will create more than 30,000 new jobs.
A balanced budget, stronger schools, more affordable college, lower property and unemployment insurance taxes, and initiatives making businesses more competitive will greatly benefit our state’s economy and residents into the future. That’s the accurate and positive message we should be sharing about our great state of Minnesota.
Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, is chairman of the Minnesota House E-12 Education Finance Committee.