State property tax relief for small business owners proposed. Act now!

Concerned about state property taxes? Small Business Minnesota recently testified on state property-tax relief for small-business owners, a top concern brought to us by our members. The bill, to lower state property taxes for small-business property, passed through the House and is now headed to the Senate Tax Committee where the fate of this bill is unknown. Small-business owners interested in state property-tax relief need to email members of the Senate Tax Committee (especially the chair) and cc the bill’s author, Representative Diane Loeffler. Let Senate Tax Committee members and chair know you support efforts to lower small business property taxes. If possible, outline how state property taxes have affected your business.

Related article via MN2020

Minimum wage and your small business

As of the time of writing this newsletter, the Minimum Wage Conference Committee has decided to increase Minnesota’s employer-paid minimum wage by 2016 to $9.50 per hour for large businesses and $7.75 for businesses with less than $500,000 in revenue. There is a lower minimum for very small businesses, trainees, teens, and employees from other countries working at places such as resorts. A total exemption from a minimum wage remains for very small businesses, babysitters, and others.

After much debate, the bill will include an automatic annual increase to the minimum wage based on inflation. A proposed constitutional amendment has been dropped.

The conference committee bill will not address wages earned from tips. The hospitality industry had sought a $6.15 to $7.25 base wage paid by the employer with wages earned through tips ensuring that $9.50 per hour or more was earned.

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Are your employees and products stuck in a Minnesota pothole?

If you want your employees to get to work and your goods to get to market in a safe, efficient manner, join Move MN to support all modes of transportation: road, bus, rail, paths.  As you may know, Small Business Minnesota is a member of Move MN, a diverse statewide campaign to fix the state’s transportation system. However, you and/or your business can join at no cost. Find more information at www.MoveMN.org. Join here http://ow.ly/vpfeg.

“The state House and Senate Transportation Committees have started the conversation of fixing Minnesota’s urgent transportation needs through a long-term, sustainable, dedicated funding for all modes of transportation,” said Darin Broton, MoveMN chair. “The conversation shouldn’t end because some legislative leaders think transportation funding is too hard to solve in an election year. The legislative session ends May 19 and there is plenty of time to make transportation a priority.”

Legislators have heard from some members in the business community that transportation funding is not important this year. If transportation is important to you, your employees, and your business, help make small-business voices like yours heard and email your legislator today.

Small Business Minnesota lobbies Congress for tax haven fix, transparency

Small Business Minnesota and others participated in a lobby day last week in collaboration with the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) coalition. They shared the business case for ending offshore tax haven abuse and other small-business tax fairness concerns with their congressional delegations.

“While Small Business Minnesota tends to keep our focus within the state, some issues are best resolved at the federal level,” said Audrey Briton, Small Business Minnesota’s public and government relations director, who visited the offices of Minnesota congresspeople. “When some issues are addressed only at the state level, it can provide an incentive for businesses to simply move to other states.”

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MNsure: Small businesses can enroll all year long

While MNsure open enrollment is now closed, MNsure special enrollment has begun. Small businesses with employees may enroll throughout the year. There are also exceptions for enrollment after March 31 for some one-person shops, individuals and families.

Information on one-person shops/individual or family insurance.

Information on small businesses offering insurance to employees.

Minnesota Pollution Control small-business service program

Small Business Minnesota recently posted information on social media about several small-business grants, including grants to replace common receipt paper with toxin-free paper and environmental incentives for diesel-engine owners. Find out more.

Free, confidential small-business environmental assistance and grants

The Minnesota Small Business Environmental Assistance Program (SBEAP) provides free, confidential environmental assistance to small businesses. SBEAP helps small businesses maintain compliance with new and existing environmental requirements, reduce or eliminate the amounts of emissions and wastes generated, and reduce regulatory obligation.

Small businesses are generally defined as independently owned and operated businesses with fewer than 100 employees that are not major sources of waste or emissions.

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Upcoming Minnesota exporting events

http://mn.gov/deed/business/exporting/events/

Featured new member: The Archive Factory

ArchiveFactory_125x125-120Welcome new member: The Archive Factory specializes in the transfer of documents and images to digital formats for business and consumer clients. Additionally we help business and institutional clients organize, annotate, re-purpose and preserve image and document collections as well as develop database and website repositories. Contact: George Green, (763) 560-3292

Export your goods and services? Minnesota is on the map.

Half of United State’s GDP comes from exporting, and Minnesota is on the map as a leading exporter according to this Business Insider story.

Small Business Minnesota recently met with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Trade Office. We were surprised to learn, first, about the types of goods and services that are being exported from plates to consulting services. The state’s trade office offers assistance in locating export opportunities, translations, website development and more. Check out their calendar of weekly events and more.

Small Business Minnesota partners with Move MN

Small Business Minnesota has joined Move MN along with 160 other local business, employment and civic groups to build a long-range, gimmick-free funded, integrated transit/transportation system to eventually get Minnesota on par with other states.

“Small businesses have made it clear that they need get employees to work and goods to market in a safe, timely and efficient manner,” said Audrey Britton, Small Business Minnesota government and public relations chair. ”While we may not be in complete agreement with the final funding decision, we understand that this is an important issue to the business community and we need to move forward.”

Related articles:

Small Business Minnesota listed as the business need behind Move MN’s efforts, StarTribune.
Minnesota is failing to keep up with transportation needs, StarTribune.

Your membership matters. Join or renew today.

Your membership matters. When Small Business Minnesota goes to bat for you, the first question we’re asked is, “How many members do you have?” The more members, the stronger our community and the stronger our voice. Please join or renew today.

More than likely, you’re already benefiting from public advocacy work done by Small Business Minnesota.  If you accept credit cards, your swipe fees have been lowered. We worked to repeal most proposed business-to-business sales taxes and will work to repeal the remaining few. We worked to ensure you would not pay a marketing fee for the health insurance exchange. Become a sustaining member for just $6.50 a month.  Please join or renew today.

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Featured new member: Kelco Services

Kelco Services provides commercial real estate consulting and construction management services to owners and tenants in the greater Twin Cities area. From feasibility analysis and preliminary drawings to full project development including financing acquisition, city liaison and entitlements, Jim Kellison has the expertise to bring your project in on time, on budget and in the highest quality. Visit  Kelco Services for more information and a few examples.