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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Bjorn Olson (R)

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Wednesday, May 3, 2023

ST. PAUL – The Minnesota House Democrat majority has approved a plan that would create a mandatory, government-run paid leave program funded by tax increases on virtually every employer and employee in Minnesota. State Representative Bjorn Olson (R-Fairmont) opposed the measure.


“The House majority continues to find reasons to raise taxes on struggling Minnesotans even though our state has a $17.5 billion surplus,” Olson said. 


Olson said the nearly $3 billion program will be paid for by a brand-new tax on employers and employees and expands employers’ leave obligations to part-time and temporary workers. 


Unlike the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) which only applies to employers with 50 or more employees, Olson said the House Democrat paid family and medical leave program would apply to all employers including those with only one employee.


In addition to the $3 billion tax increase, Olson said as many as 400 new full-time employees will need to be hired to develop and administrate the statewide program.


Olson said House Republicans brought forward a more reasonable plan. This alternative - the Minnesota Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program (FaMLI) - would provide paid family and medical leave benefits for employees without job-crushing mandates and new taxes. Instead, it would incentivize small businesses to participate by providing a tax credit and allow the private sector to operate the program. Unfortunately, the House majority would not allow this proposal to move forward.


“House Republicans care about our Main Street business owners and workers, and our plan would have created a cost-effective balance, but that is a goal that clearly does not interest the House majority,” Olson said.