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Legislators Unveil “Next Generation Main Street Act” to Help Small Businesses Thrive

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


SAINT PAUL, MINNHouse and Senate DFL legislators joined small business owners today at a press conference to push for passage of the “Next Generation Main Street Act,” an array of proposals designed to support small businesses across the state. The legislators worked with Minnesota small business owners to bring forward initiatives that will reduce costly audits, simplify tax filing for businesses, and make it easier for owners to transfer their businesses to a next generation owner. The legislators are urging bipartisan passage of the Next Generation Main Street Act this session.

“Running a small business is a lot of work and business owners would rather focus their energy on building and growing their business than getting mired in an expensive audit,” said Rosenthal. “These are common sense proposals designed to reduce red tape and hopefully will allow small business owners to focus on the priorities that will help them prosper.”

“Minnesota was recently named the best state to do business in. Let’s continue down that path with forward thinking initiatives like the Next Generation Main Street Act,” said State Sen. Melisa Franzen (DFL – Edina). “As a small business owner myself, I know how hard it can be to get a business off the ground. This bill gives small business owners the tools to focus on growing their business rather than getting tangled in government bureaucracy. This bill streamlines audits and engages emerging businesses so that Minnesota’s entrepreneurs can see even more success.”

“I support these common sense efforts to help make it easier for small businesses in Minnesota,” said Danny Schwartzman the owner of Common Roots Cafe and Common Roots Catering in Minneapolis, and board member of the Metro IBA (Independent Business Alliance). “Small businesses are the backbone of Minnesota's economy, and this package of bills are a great low-cost investment for Minnesota.”

The Next Generation Main Street Act will support small businesses in the following ways:

Supporting Small Business Start-Ups & Entrepreneurs:

Minnesota has a number of resources available to assist small businesses as they navigate what can be a complicated system to get a business off the ground. However, often small businesses don’t have the same level of staff as larger corporations, or aren’t aware of the tools at their disposal and are disadvantaged as a result. The Next Generation Main Street Act would support business start-ups and entrepreneurs by making sure that every person that starts a small business in Minnesota is contacted and provided information about the resources available to them (HF3388 Masin/SF 2679 Jensen). In addition, legislators are working to assist business start-ups with gap financing through the Minnesota

Initiative Foundations (HF 3138 Persell/ SF3157 Saxhaug).

Helping With Succession Planning

Too often small businesses face closure not because the business is failing, but rather because the owner cannot find a successor when there is not a family member to whom to transfer the business. The Next Generation Main Street Act would help

those businesses and those communities by providing grants to Small Business Development Centers to provide transaction services to business owners and next generation, non-family proprietors to help them take over a business.

"Small businesses are the key economic contributors to most of our neighborhoods and small communities in Minnesota," says Greg Bergman, Regional Director of the North Central Small Business Development Center. "With the expected coming wave of business owner retirements we need to work hand in hand with business owners and prospective buyers to retain and grow our small local businesses."

Streamlining Audits:

Every small business owner wants to do the right thing, but our tax laws can be complicated. The Next Generation Main Street Act would streamline and simplify the process to reduce the amount of time and money small business owners must spend on costly audits in a number of ways. For example, the bill would change statutes so the Department of Revenue “may” rather than “must” assign penalties. In addition, they would waive penalties for minor or inadvertent compliance issues

(HF2879 Rosenthal/SF2906 Franzen).

Simplifying Tax Filing for Small Businesses:

State and federal tax changes make tax season complicated each year for businesses. The proposal would simplify tax filing for small businesses by enacting federal tax conformity so that Minnesota businesses can file taxes without delay and uncertainty in 2016. The legislation would make tax conformity automatic so that the annual uncertainty over what rules apply for state taxpayers would be eliminated (HF2875 Rosenthal/SF2436 Rest).  

“When our small businesses thrive so do our local economies. The success of small business owners is a key to ensuring that our economy works for everyone and not just the well-connected few,” said Thissen. “We listened to small businesses over the past year and have put together package of bills that respond to some of the practical challenges they face in managing and expanding their businesses.”

A more detailed description of the Next Generation Main Street Act is attached.


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