By Bill Blazar, interim president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce
Gov. Mark Dayton has released his budget for the next two years, signaling once again that he has little interest in making progress on Minnesota’s competitiveness. The statewide business community needs to send a united message to the governor and legislators: Use the state’s projected $1 billion surplus to reduce some of our uncompetitive business taxes. March 3 is the perfect opportunity. Please join the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and our local chamber partners for our annual Business Day NOT at the Capitol.There’s a twist to our event this year. The State Capitol is under construction, so we are bringing the lawmakers to you. All activities will be at the Crowne Plaza St. Paul – Riverfront. We promise a new format and new opportunities.
Nothing makes a better impression on our elected officials than hearing firsthand from their constituents. Business Day NOT at the Capitol is the perfect venue to learn the latest about issues that affect your bottom line and deliver a personal message to policy decision-makers. Let legislators know how decisions at the Capitol affect your ability to grow in Minnesota and compete in the global economy.
Morning and luncheon keynote speakers will energize you for the afternoon. The event is also a chance to:
• Network with your peers from across Minnesota.
• Rally with your recognized region of the state.
• Quiz key legislators on hot topics from education to transportation to environment.
Minnesota is enjoying some of its best economic times in recent years with a projected surplus of more than $1 billion for the next two-year budget cycle, growing to $3 billion for the following two years. The governor’s budget, unfortunately, missed the opportunity to provide tax relief. He used the majority of the surplus to lock in long-term, permanent spending, raising taxes on some employers, and increasing fees.
His recommendations are disappointing and shortsighted. Businesses and individuals absorbed a series of tax increases in 2013 that topped $2 billion. Budget surpluses in 2013 and 2014 – in the billions of dollars – clearly present a chance to make Minnesota businesses more competitive and ensure more investment is made in our state.
Attend Business Day NOT at the Capitol and send the message: This is not the time to raise taxes again. Use this opportunity to ease some of the cost burdens on employers to best position Minnesota in a changing and growing economy.
As one employer, your voice can be a whisper. Combine it with hundreds of others, and your voice becomes a roar. Your voice makes a difference. We look forward to seeing you March 3.