CNBC ranks Minnesota No.1 for Business

“Leave it to the North Star State to chart a new course to competitiveness.”

Article: A CNBC analysis ranked Minnesota the top state for business in the country. The number one slot was achieved by taking a different route from the previous eight winners.

“Rather than just seeking the lowest taxes or the highest incentives, companies are increasingly chasing the largest supply of skilled, qualified workers.”  Read the entire article.

Small Business Minnesota 2015 Legislative Wrap Up

The state legislative sessions have ended for 2015. Time ran out for many bills and the regular session ended in a flurry of activity and angst. The governor vetoed three major bills and a one-day special session was called. The public including groups like Small Business Minnesota, the media and almost all legislators, were barred from participating in or observing the special session. In the end, a surprising number of provisions were added to bills that had not been vetted and previous agreements were altered or eliminated.  Read small-business legislative wrap up.

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Small Business Minnesota responds: Legislative session not kind to small business

Small Business Minnesota responded to a Star Tribune article about the recently concluded legislative session. “That article, like the session, largely ignored small business, even though 98 percent of Minnesota businesses are small and employ [almost half] of our workforce.”. Read the article.

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, more earth-friendly renewable energy. Grants cover up to 25 percent of the installation costs and loans cover up to 75 percent of the cost.

Applications for the first round of grants are due June 30. For more information, visit mncerts.org/GreatRenewables or call Fritz Ebinger at (612) 626-1028.    Related article.

Legislators supporting predatory lending that target small businesses

Having tapped the individual market, predatory lenders are now targeting small businesses. Small business owners often have difficultly accessing capital. This makes them particularly vulnerable to predatory lenders. Minnesota has some of the weakest predatory lending regulations in the nation. In the past and current sessions, legislators in both the House and Senate are siding with powerful lobbyists instead of small businesses. Contact your House representative and your Senator and ask that they pass the predatory lender bill.

Property tax: Big win for big corporations, another loss for small businesses

We do not support more tax breaks for large corporations. Big corporations’ tax breaks and favors are abundant, while small businesses pick up the tab. Until the playing field is leveled for small businesses, tell legislators to leave big corporate property taxes at current levels and to keep or increase the small business property tax relief passed last session. (Small Business Minnesota testified in favor of the current small business tax relief; the state chamber testified against it because it didn’t favor big businesses.)  Write to House Speaker Kurt Daudt, Minority House leader Rep. Paul Thissen, and Senate leaders Tom Bakk and David Hann. Contact all House and Senate tax committee members.

Transportation: Small businesses need adequate, long-term, gimmick-free funding

Minnesota’s small businesses need transportation/transit to get our goods to market, customers to our doors and our employees to work. House and Senate transportation bills are miles apart. Contact House and Senate transportation committee members. Tell them that Minnesota’s 500,000 small businesses and the 1.2 million Minnesotans we employ need adequate, long-term, gimmick-free funding for transportation/transit.   View House, Senate, Governor’s plans. Read more at MoveMN.

Bill opens floodgates to big corporate influence

The House passed the Unlimited Corporate Influence provision that encourages candidates to accept unlimited contributions from lobbyist and PAC sources. This further pushes small business out of the influence circle. Small businesses don’t have the centralized money to pay lobbyists millions each year. This is why the vast majority of public policy favors big business over our small businesses. This provision gives big business an even bigger voice than it already enjoys. Write to House Speaker Kurt Daudt, Minority House leader Rep. Paul Thissen, and Senate leaders Tom Bakk and David Hann.. Contact your House representative and your Senator and tell them you strongly oppose Unlimited Corporate Influence.

House ignores small business owners’ pleas on environmental policies

The House passed an environmental bill that adversely affects many Minnesota small businesses. Generally, big corporations with highly paid lobbyists were given unlimited time to testify and access to the House Environmental committee while small businesses’ attempts were largely squelched. Write to House Speaker Kurt Daudt, Minority House leader Rep. Paul Thissen, and contact all members on the House and Senate environmental committees and tell them you support small businesses. 1) Keep programs that help small businesses in green energy fields, a future economic driver and employer, i.e., wind and solar energy. 2) Keep or further limit chemical dumping like sulfate into wetlands that will harm or destroy downstream small businesses, i.e., wild rice producers.

MNsure still lacks small business focus

MNsure, the state’s insurance exchange, still lacks a focus on small business. Small Business Minnesota was instrumental in changing the MNsure bill but some of these changes have yet to be implemented. Tell House and Senate health committee members to 1) Ensure that a qualified, knowledgeable small-business advocate is appointed to fill the “small business seat” on the MNsure board, as was the spirit and intent of the law.  2) Implement active purchaser which may be the only way to lower insurance costs for small businesses that through MNsure should gain access to large-group rates.  3) Ask that MNsure reach out to the small business community to build awareness of MNsure’s offerings.