ST. PAUL – The Minnesota House Small Business Caucus took a tour of four Wright County small businesses on Wednesday, October 23. The tour was organized by Representative Marion O’Neill (R-Buffalo).
“After seeing the detrimental impact this last legislative session had on our small businesses imposed by Democrats, I felt it was incumbent upon us as legislators to get a first-hand account of what our businesses need to grow and thrive in Minnesota,” said O’Neill, co-chair of the House Small Business Caucus.”
The group’s first stop was at Integrated Recycling Technologies, Inc., a company that specializes in the recycling scrap metal and precious metals, in Monticello. The group’s second stop was at UMC Precision Manufacturing, also located in Monticello, a family-owned precision manufacturing business. For lunch, the group stopped at Cornerstone Café, a locally-owned and catering business in Monticello. The group’s last stop was at Shangri La Nook, a retail store in Albertville – located in the district Rep. David Fitzsimmons (R-Albertville) serves – that sells handmade apparel and accessories from Nepal.
Some of the major concerns from the businesses that members of the Small Business Caucus met with related to taxes, regulations, education, and workforce training. Some of the specific concerns included:
The medical device tax as part of the Affordable Care Act
The tax on the labor to repair equipment as part of the 2013 Omnibus Tax bill passed by the legislature. 28 states do not impose such a tax.
Higher income taxes on the top 2% as part of the 2013 Omnibus Tax bill. 92% of businesses pay taxes at individual income rate, which also taxes the business profits retained in the business.
Technical education and workforce training given the fact that one out of seven jobs in Minnesota comes from manufacturing.
Raising the minimum wage to the proposed $9.50 per hour. Family-owned businesses will be forced to cut work hours, lay off employees, or shut down altogether
Excessive regulation and frequent audits from state agencies that consumes too much time and money for small businesses
“What we learned is that many small businesses in Minnesota are barely treading water. Imposing one more burden from the state may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back,” said O’Neill. “Our focus during the 2014 legislative session must be to ease the burden on our job providers instead of piling on their already heavy load of taxes and regulations.”
Rep. O’Neill encourages constituents to contact her office with input regarding any state legislative issue. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To contact O’Neill by phone, call (651) 296-5063. Mail can be sent to Rep. Marion O’Neill 229 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, Minnesota 55155.