2015 Small Business Minnesota legislative wrap up

Small Business Minnesota distributed its legislative wrap up in early June:  It was another big-business year at the Minnesota State Capitol. While small business made some gains, the vast majority of business-related public policy and tax dollars (including tax favors) continues to focus on big-businesses. (See the lobbyist report article)

Small business gains include: greater attention (but little funding) for adequate Internet access for the 500,000 small businesses, customers and employees in Greater Minnesota, the potential for small businesses to tap crowdfunding, and an increase in education and programs for a ready workforce.  Read small-business legislative wrap up.

For SBM, the 2016 legislative session has already begun

The 2015 legislative session has ended but our work continues. Small Business Minnesota continues to meet with legislators, commissioners, other leaders and organizations to take action on issues important to small businesses. If you would like to join the Small Business Minnesota public policy committee or to volunteer in any other way, email rob@smallbusinessmn.org. If you have a public policy issue or concern, email audrey@smallbusinessmn.org.

Lobbyist reports shows why big-business soars at the Capitol

The newly released 2014 Minnesota lobbyist report records that more than $70million dollars was spent to influence legislators; that’s more than $318,000 for each legislator. Six million was spent to influence the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), a citizen’s board; that’s $1million on each of its six members.

The largest amount of lobbying was spent on big-business interests and the return on this investment paid off. Big-business gains at the Capitol continue to soar. A negligible amount was spent representing Minnesota’s largest employer, small business. While we have made a difference and the small-business voice is welcomed at the Capitol, it takes your membership and, if you are able, your volunteer hours.

Please join or renew your membership today.  When we show up, we make a difference.

Welcome new and renewing members!

Knuth Accounting and Business Services, LLC provides start up and growing small business with accounting, tax and business advisory services.  Services include assistance getting accounting systems in place, ongoing bookkeeping services such as payroll assistance, help with financial reporting and working with banks on securing operating lines of credit or other loans, budgeting, internal control, fixed asset identification and tracking, and tax issues. Contact: Sharon Pavek Knuth, CPA, CGMA (763) 843-2917, sharon.knuth@knuthaccounting.com.  More information at www.knuthaccounting.com

The Guitar Shop located in Downtown Rosemount Minn. since April or 2012, offers guitar and piano lessons from full theory with reading music to a more casual learning-by-ear approach. The showroom area features new and used guitars for the beginner to advanced player. The Guitar Shop is a family owned music store where customer service and friendly staff is our first priority.  Guitar repair and set-up by Brad Wegner, the owner of The Guitar Shop, who attended the guitar repair program at Southeast College in Red Wing Minnesota, recognized as one of the top three stringed instrument repair schools in the country. The Guitar Shop also offers orchestra and band instrument rental online at mnguitarshop.com  The Guitar Shop is a friendly, family spot where you can purchase musical instruments, have your guitar repaired, learn music for the first time or maybe just brush up, or a spot just to hang out and have some fun! (651)344-8177

info@mnguitarshop.commnguitarshop.commnmusiclessons.com.

Minnesota’s next round of minimum wage increases begin Aug. 1

Details at the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. The wage varies depending on several factors including revenue (“size”), training wages, youth wages, many exemptions and more. See Employer size and minimum wage factsheet (size of business is based on revenue). and the full list of exemptions. The next increase is due January 2018 when minimum wage increases are set to raise based on inflation.

Employers, employees often qualify for health insurance premium tax credits

Do you or your employees qualify for health insurance premiums tax credits? Most do. Check out this chart.

Renewable energy grants available for Greater Minnesota small businesses

A new program administered through the USDA with assistance from the Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Teams helps small businesses in Greater Minnesota find and apply for grants to switch to less expensive renewable energy options. Grants cover up to 25 percent of the installation costs and loans cover up to 75 percent of the cost. More information or call Fritz Ebinger at (612) 626-1028. Read a related article.

Capital equipment refund now an upfront tax exemption

As of July 1, 2015, the capital equipment refund is an up-front sales tax exemption. Details via Minnesota Department of Revenue.

Small Business Minnesota quoted in Finance & Commerce

Lawmakers plot next session’s bid for tax cuts (subscription service).

Business leaders statewide rallied around the cause, but some groups worry a blanket tax-cut proposal could shortchange certain segments of the marketplace. Small business owners, for example, already get squeezed out by bigger players, said Audrey Britton, a spokeswoman for nonprofit Small Business Minnesota.

“That has tax implications, when legislators don’t understand what small business in Minnesota looks like,” Britton said. “Their tax policy is often not reflective of what’s actually going on.”

SBM says “no” to health insurance premiums hikes on small businesses

Small Business Minnesota submitted comments to the Department of Commerce requesting that they deny proposed health insurance premium rate hikes on small businesses and individual business owners.

Surveys consistently indicate that affordable health insurance is the top priority of most business owners. Small business owners pay more per employee for the same health insurance policies as their big-business counterparts. The decision-making process from this point forward is closed to the public and the decision will be announced October 1, 2015.  View Proposed Health Insurance Premiums letter.