The celebration may be a bit tempered here with our ongoing debate over an earned-sick-and-safe-time mandate and the way that debate has left so many of Duluth's small-business operators feeling unappreciated, vilified, and threatened.

But Minnesota's "Small Helps All Day" proclamation for today and the 55th annual "National Small Business Week" this week are reminders of how important smaller employers are to our state and nation - and to those millions of us who bank on small businesses for our employment, income, and financial well-being.

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"Small businesses are one of the most important drivers of Minnesota's economy, creating good jobs and bright futures," Gov. Mark Dayton said in a statement Monday. "I thank our hard-working entrepreneurs for their many contributions to our state and encourage all Minnesotans to join me in supporting and celebrating our small businesses."

Statewide, 503,000 small businesses employ 1.2 million Minnesotans; small businesses employ nearly half of Minnesota's workforce, according to the governor's office.

In the hopes of helping them and their all-important bottom lines, Dayton, in his tax bill this legislative session, proposed allowing small businesses and farmers the ability to more quickly deduct equipment expenses. This would provide "more than $100 million in up-front tax cuts," the governor said.

Nationally, 30 million small businesses create about half of all private-sector jobs - and have been stepping it up with job creation in recent years.

"We led the way out of the Great Recession by creating two-thirds of all (of) America's private-sector jobs since 2008," Frank Knapp, co-chairman of Businesses for Responsible Tax Reform and the president and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, wrote this week for InsideSources.com. "We are part of the fabric of what makes our local communities great places to live and raise families. And we are always at the very top of polling showing that the public respects and has confidence in small businesses more than any other American institution."

But America's small businesses took a hit in the recent reform of the federal tax code, according to Knapp. Big corporations got a 40 percent tax rate cut to gobble up $1 trillion of the $1.4 trillion in benefits. Small businesses got a deduction on taxable income that'll end after just seven years; and to the average small business, the deduction will mean only about $400.

"Clearly Congress should revisit their tax law and put small businesses as their priority to grow our economy by helping small businesses grow," Knapp wrote.

As small businesses are celebrated today in Minnesota and across the nation all this week, our Duluth City Council also can reconsider where small businesses fall on its list of priorities. And we all can recall the critical place in our lives and communities occupied by these all-important job providers.