Small Business Minnesota Legislative Update Health Care and Tax Fairness

Small Business Minnesota

Legislative Update

 

It has already been a very busy time at the Capitol for Small Business Minnesota. So far we have enjoyed a warm welcome from legislators, commissioners and administrators with whom we’ve met. All are eager to hear from small businesses: Minnesota’s largest employer!

Currently Small Business Minnesota is focusing on the two top concerns identified by our members in a survey last fall: affordable healthcare and tax fairness.

Affordable Healthcare: Minnesota’s Healthcare Exchange

Under the Affordable Care Act, states were given the option to establish their own healthcare exchange programs or follow the Federal program. The exchanges,open to employers with fewer than 50 employees in 2014 and 2015 have to be approved by March 31, 2013. The exchange will be open to employers with up to 100 employees in 2016 and beyond.

To date, Small Business Minnesota is actively supporting two provisions in the healthcare exchange bills (SF1 and HF5):

Active purchaser

States have the option of being a “passive” or an “active purchaser” of insurance policies. Being an active purchaser will give small businesses access to lower-cost health insurance at true group rates.

Using information gathered from our members, Small Business Minnesota board will begin providing testimony this week. Four Small Business Minnesota members will testify.

If you are a member and you have concerns about healthcare, please contact Audrey Britton, Small Business Minnesota government affairs chair.

Healthcare Exchange Board

A board that oversees the healthcare exchange is outlined in the bills. It calls for one member to represent small business interests. The Chamber has indicated that it will fill this slot with one of its members; Small Business Minnesota will recommend that one of our members sit on the board.

Notes: The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and insurance-provider lobbyists are at the Capitol working to defeat the active purchaser arrangement, and to promote appointment of their clients to sit on the healthcare exchange board.

Tax Fairness for Small Business Owners

Small Business Minnesota was represented at the Minnesota Department of Revenue tax reform open house for business leaders. We also watched Governor Dayton present his budget proposal. We have been invited to meet with Myron Frans, Commissioner of Revenue and the Governor’s tax reform leader, to discuss our reaction to the Governor’s proposal and other tax-related issues important to small business owners.

Business services tax, a concern for Small Business Minnesota members
While we are still reviewing the entire budget proposal, we have noted and heard from members concerned with the proposed business-to-business services tax. Other areas of immediate concern include: property tax relief and reform, fairness and ROI in job creation credit programs, unfair and unchecked tax expenditures, and the need to review small business taxes in addition to the attention being given to lowering corporate taxes on the largest companies.

Please share your small business taxes thoughts with Audrey Britton, Small Business Minnesota government affairs chair.

Notes: Read Governor Dayton’s budget proposal here: http://mn.gov/governor/budget. We are happy to see a move toward transparent budgeting free from borrowing, shifts and accounting gimmicks. Also, a separate bill has been introduced to examine Minnesota’s tax expenditures.

A Note on Transportation

Small Business Minnesota has made many connections to members of the House transportation committee, and attended a recent hearing. Minnesota has the 15th largest transportation system in the nation but our funding is well behind our peers. A well-functioning transportation system is essential for a vibrant state economy. Metro, suburban and greater Minnesota legislators seemed to agree.