Minnesota Chamber Stops In Brainerd For Policy Tour
The Minnesota Chamber Statewide Policy Tour is making 12 stops throughout Minnesota to best prepare for the 2018 legislative session.
“We get around the state and hear directly from employers about the issues that they care about and make sure when we go to the legislature we are going with a consensus agenda, it’s well informed and we understand what is foremost on employer’s minds in terms of growing and succeeding in the state of Minnesota,” said Laura Bordelon, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President.
Today, issues related to the workforce shortage were discussed at length.
“The past 15 years, the state of Minnesota has been losing more people domestically than adding,” Bordelon said. “What that means is more people are moving out of Minnesota than moving in from other states and that is a challenge for us.”
Also a top concern for employers is high business taxes.
“We have a lot of work to be more competitive, and we will be pushing with the legislature and talking with them non-stop about how to be more competitive on tax rates,” Bordelon said. “That’s always a top concern for employers and it might even be more so this year with the federal tax changes.”
There are also many other changes on the way in the political landscape.
“Governor’s race, Senate races, legislative races, it’s a political year and that will dominate a lot of what is going to happen,” Bordelon said.
But even with some uncertainty, there are areas the Minnesota Chamber is happy to keep as it is.
“We are renowned for this fabulous, reliable, smart and capable workforce, it’s one of our greatest assets and we want to keep that going,” Bordelon said.
Another asset is the state’s strong creative workforce.
“Minnesotans are very smart and very capable of developing new things,” Bordelon said. “Goods and services help us maintain that competitive edge and a very robust economy comparative to the rest of the nation.”
One way that can be seen is with the state now ranking fourth in the nation for patents per capita.
“It’s always a wonderful opportunity to hear what is going on at the state level and how as a group of businesses we might be able to affect change,” said Twyla Flaws, Clow Stamping Personnel Manager.
And that change can help create a stable community.
“A lot of times when you don’t put those additional burdens on businesses, they invest back into their communities and their people,” said Matt Kilian, the Brainerd Lakes Chamber President. “If we can bring that message to the state legislature, that is exactly what we want to do.”