Public Policy Platform 2018
FULL DEDICATION OF TRANSPORTATION RELATED REVENUES
The 2017 legislature passed the largest transportation funding bill in nearly a decade. Nearly $2 billion of transportation related sales taxes will be captured and directed to the state’s transportation system over the next 10 years. This includes 100% of the revenues generated from the sales tax on rental cars and approximately 60% of revenues generated from the sales tax on auto parts. The Minnesota Chamber has been a strong advocate for the investment of these transportation related General Fund resources in transportation infrastructure and services. We support full dedication of the auto parts sales tax to transportation.
If necessary to address concerns about predictability of General Fund investments in transportation, the state should consider asking Minnesota voters to constitutionally dedicate these revenues to transportation purposes to be used for long-term infrastructure projects.
STRENGTHEN MINNESOTA’S MEDICAL PROCEDURE PRICE TRANSPARENCY LAWS
Ever increasing health care costs have pushed health insurance products toward higher out of pocket costs for policyholders. As a result, more and more Minnesotans spending thousands of dollars in deductibles before coverage kicks in. This has forced individuals to be better consumers of health care, though often with incomplete information about cost. Minnesota has laws on the books that require health care providers to disclose the cost of medical procedures at the request of a patient or prospective patient, but these laws must be strengthened to ensure they are followed and this vital information is provided to consumers in a timely manner.
ENHANCE MINNESOTA’S TAX COMPETITIVENESS
Federal tax reform may provide an opportunity for state tax reforms as federal reforms may result in additional state revenues. If federal reform occurs any state revenues realized should be used to pay for state tax reform including reductions in the corporate and individual income tax rates; relief for pass-through companies; federal estate tax conformity; protection of the research and development tax credit and further business property tax relief.
ENSURE CONSISTENT STATEWIDE LAWS
A troubling trend is for cities to enact their own workplace mandates, creating a patchwork of city-by-city ordinances that presents an even greater administrative burden for employers. Local governments are right to control certain activities within their own borders, but enacting employee wage and benefit mandates on private employers is outside city authority and conflicts with state law. Local units of government should not be able to enact their own local minimum wage ordinances or benefit mandates since doing so will disrupt the state employment market and impede hiring and job growth. Accordingly, we support explicit statewide preemption of local government labor mandates.
2018 Federation Priorities in partnership with the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce
Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce also supports the following positions on an on-going basis
LABOR/MANAGEMENT Reduce employer costs
· Repeal automatic inflation index & add a tipped employee tier to the Minnesota minimum wage law.
· Allow business owners, employers and employees to deduct the cost of insurance on a pre-tax basis regardless of the status of an employer’s group plan. This would allow employers to reimburse employees for the cost of insurance, rather than stand the cost of a group plan which may not fit their needs.
· Improve the access, reliability and use of broadband in an effort to enhance economic development opportunities and improve the quality of life.
· Recognize that the availability of broadband is a critical component to businesses’ economic vitality.
· Increase the opportunities for access to funding for broadband development to enable private sector businesses to respond to the increasing demands for this type of infrastructure.
· Investing in broadband is an investment in the people and businesses of the state of Minnesota and impacts our state economy, our environment and our quality of life.
· Supports preservation of local roads and bridges, and other transportation infrastructure using revenues from the transportation related sales and fuel taxes. Mobility and safety improvements should be funded from the state capital bonding bill or other legislation such as the Corridors of Commerce funding introduced in 2013. Businesses of all kinds rely on local roads and bridges to move products in and out of their facilities.
· Encourages federal, state, county and municipal investment to leverage grant dollars as a tool for infrastructure acceleration. Recent projects completed by matching or supporting local funds to leverage state and federal dollars resulted in accelerated completion of the projects. The Chamber supports creating increased opportunities and incentives to maximize the use of available grant dollars.
· Encourages the legislature to continue to fund the Corridors of Commerce legislation to catch up on necessary infrastructure improvements while maintaining appropriate funding for maintenance and repair of existing roads.
· Supports creating a state-administered program of funding to provide grants and infrastructure preservation and improvement of Minnesota’s short line freight railroads, their shipper customers and the communities they serve. Additionally we are supportive of public private investments that would be used for improving and expanding rail spurs in industrial parks that grow commercial and industrial activity. Such infrastructure improvements will support the growth of business as well as job creation across the county and beyond.