2020 Chamber Federation Priorities
2020 Federation Priorities
Local chambers represent economic vitality in their communities. The Minnesota Chamber Federation unites and amplifies the voice of local chambers by advocating for policies to advance business in every corner of the state. Federation partners represent 43 communities and more than 21,000 businesses. They have worked to promote pro-growth policies to the Legislature for more than a decade, helping ensure that state lawmakers understand the needs and interests of Minnesota's diverse and successful local business community.
The Federation has the following policy priorities for the 2020 Legislative Session:
We are committed to providing the best workplaces for employees. This includes sharing employers' best practices so all businesses are aware of effective approaches to maintaining progressive workplaces to retain and compete for the best employees. Employers adhere to strict labor laws and workplace standards at the state and federal levels to maintain safe, healthy, respectful and inclusive workplaces. They must have flexibility to make staffing decisions and provide appropriate wages, benefits, and schedules for their workplace and industry.
- We oppose "one size fits all" state mandates that limit employers' ability to design competitive benefit packages for their employees.
Minnesota has 853 cities and 87 counties. When local-level government bodies pass workplace mandates, it creates an administrative nightmare for employers and could cause unintentional errors subjecting businesses to legal action.
- We support state legislation that explicitly prohibits local government labor mandates.
As new laws and regulations are imposed on Minnesota's employers, enacting technical changes can create onerous compliance concerns.
- We will pursue modifications to the 2019 wage theft law that has far-reaching, overly complicated requirements for employers.
Minnesota's high taxes continue to rank as a top barrier to economic growth, according to chamber members. Business taxes are among the highest in the nation in many categories. High taxes negatively impact innovation, entrepreneurship, talent recruitment, and investment - the very catalysts needed to foster economic growth. the Minnesota Chamber Federation has a broad tax reform agenda including business property tax relief, personal and corporate rate reductions, estate tax federal conformity and enhancement of the research and development tax credit.
- We support tax relief for businesses that pay taxes through their personal tax returns by adopting federal conformity with Section 179 business expensing rules.
We recognize scientific consensus that the climate is changing due to human activity. Environmental sustainability and economic competitiveness, if done right, are not mutually exclusive.
- We support the Legislature recognizing that state policies could result in disruption of business operations in Minnesota, considerably affect state and local economies, and may only marginally impact global environmental progress.
- We support state policymakers pursuing policies that collectively enable a cleaner environment, recognize technological and economical limitations, support and advance innovation, maintain a secure economy and protect jobs.
- We support environmental policies that drive private investment in Minnesota while helping employers reduce environmental impacts.
Minnesota already requires health insurance policies to cover more than 60 benefits - one of the longest lists of required benefits in the country. Large employers tend to insure their workers under federal law. As a result, these state mandates negatively impact small employers. Research shows the average mandate increases premiums by .44% to 1.11% annually.
- We support requiring a cost-benefit analysis before any proposal to add insurance mandates to state law.
Education and Workforce Development
Minnesota's education and workforce development efforts must align with employer needs, for our skilled workforce to continue to be a cornerstone of our competitive business climate. Systemic reforms are necessary to raise all student achievement, ensuring every high school graduate is ready for postsecondary education or a career.
- We support private-sector initiatives to increase employer engagement in the training of workers in addition to supporting policies that ensure student readiness. Local chambers' private-sector-led "Business Education Network" is connecting employers, students, and learning institutions to local job opportunities and needed academic and training preparation for those jobs.
Students are better prepared for the future when they make meaningful career connections during their school years. Postsecondary and dual-credit programs provide high school students with credit toward certificates and degrees fro high schools, two-year colleges, and four-year universities, and should be promoted.
- We support fostering and encouraging career exploration and hands-on training opportunities for students.
Postsecondary institutions and workforce programs should track and adapt to changes in the labor market and workforce needs. Access to work-based learning and career pathway resources should be expanded with data-driven efforts including workforce supply and demand projections.
- We support using data to better understand training needs and high-demand careers. Transparency and accessibility improvements should be made to programmatic and institutional information made public to allow students to make informed decisions on the institutions and programs that best fit their needs.