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Our view: Minnesota legislative session good for business

What? A do-nothing legislative session? "That was the narrative, anyway," Laura Bordelson, senior vice president of advocacy for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, said in a meeting Tuesday with the News Tribune editorial board, recalling the sta...

What? A do-nothing legislative session?

"That was the narrative, anyway," Laura Bordelson, senior vice president of advocacy for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, said in a meeting Tuesday with the News Tribune editorial board, recalling the statements of Gov. Mark Dayton and fellow DFLers when they flew around the state last month to debrief a day after the Minnesota Legislature adjourned.

Do-nothing? Not from everyone's perspective. It certainly wasn't a do-

nothing session for the state's business community. Not according to Bordelson and the state chamber's recently released "Jobs Scorecard" and "Anti-Jobs 2012 Legislative Summary."

"I just want to say we got some things accomplished," Bordelson said. "I think we did quite well. It wasn't a bad session for business. I think it was a pretty good session. There were roadblocks, but there were successes."

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Roadblocks included time-consuming distractions that came with redistricting and with creating and passing a Vikings stadium bill. But despite those and other challenges, 2012 "was a great year to move the meter in the right direction" when it comes to improving the state's business climate, Bordelson insisted. Such improvement allows businesses to launch and grow, which results in jobs and the wages that are spent on goods, taxes and to stimulate the economy.

The state chamber said it helped block bills that would have increased the cost of doing business in Minnesota. That included measures that would have increased health-coverage mandates, dictated staffing levels for nurses, increased the tax burden on businesses, increased corporate and personal income taxes, interjected state government into a private labor dispute at American Crystal Sugar, denied access to job applicants' criminal histories, and more.

And it said it helped advance pro-jobs measures to, among other things, give small businesses and individuals greater freedom to seek quality, affordable health insurance; study the cost of mandated health-

insurance benefits; expand "design-build," a faster, more cost-effective method of paying for and completing transportation projects; evaluate school principals; expand postsecondary-enrollment options; require teachers to pass basic-skills tests before teaching; and streamline environmental reviews and permitting through the DNR and MPCA while ensuring environmental protections.

"That's real progress," Bordelson said. From the perspective of the state's all-important business community.

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