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Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce

2016 Legislative Priorities approved by the Board of Directors January 19, 2016
 
ENACT MEANINGFUL BUSINESS PROPERTY TAX RELIEF

Minnesota businesses property taxes are among the highest in the nation. Tax burdens on some properties are more than 90% higher than the national average and more than 200% higher than in neighboring states. Businesses pay a disproportionate share of the property tax; they have 12% of the market value but pay 32% of the total property tax. Much of that disparity is due to the classification system and the state levy that businesses must pay in addition to all their local property taxes. We support reducing this fixed cost of doing business by reducing the statewide levy and eliminating the automatic inflator. We oppose any additional shift of taxes to commercial/industrial properties.

TRANSPORTATION INVESTMENT

We support passage of a 10 year, comprehensive transportation funding package that provides increased investment in the state’s multi-modal transportation infrastructure. The state should use the General Fund revenues generated from the statewide sales tax on auto parts and rental cars to fund increased investment in our transportation system; look to MnDOT to find efficiencies within their existing budgets; In addition, policymakers must ensure that the state’s transit needs in both the metro area and Greater Minnesota are addressed through this comprehensive, long-term investment.

WAGE AND BENEFIT MANDATE PREEMPTION

Counties, cities, and townships should not be able to enact their own local minimum wage ordinances or benefit mandates as it will disrupt the state employment market and impede hiring practices and job growth. The Minnesota Chamber opposes the annual minimum wage automatic inflation index that begins in 2018, and believes the Legislature must remove the inflator from current law.

MINNESOTA HUMAN RIGHTS ACT MODIFICATION (ADA)

Change the Minnesota Human Rights Act so that before a plaintiff can sue a business for a disability access violation, the plaintiff must serve that business with notice of the alleged violations. The notice must identify the nature of each alleged violation with specificity and give the business at least 90 days to begin to remedy the violation. A business should have up to one year from the date of notice to fix alleged violations that cannot be reasonably fixed in 90 days.

HEALTH CARE

·         Oppose new health care mandates that increase employer and employee costs

·         Increase coverage options, like self-insuring, for employers

·         Advocate for use of federal waiver to lessen the burden on employers of providing coverage and to reform public health care programs

LABOR/MANAGEMENT Reduce employer costs

·         Repeal automatic inflation index & add a tipped employee tier to the Minnesota minimum wage law.

·         Prohibit local governments from enacting their own mandates, which would create additional layers of labor laws

·         Oppose doubling the FLSA exempt salary levels by Department of Labor’s proposed rule changes

BROADBAND IMPROVEMENTS

·         Improve the access, reliability and use of broadband in an effort to enhance economic development opportunities and improve the quality of life.

·         Recognize that the availability of broadband is a critical component to businesses’ economic vitality.

·         Increase the opportunities for access to funding for broadband development to enable private sector businesses to respond to the increasing demands for this type of infrastructure.

·         Investing in broadband is an investment in the people and businesses of the state of Minnesota and impacts our state economy, our environment and our quality of life.  

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