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Rep. Paul Marquart, Published July 27 2013

Letter: Chamber message is too bleak

The 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.

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.