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Legislative Update (3-3-17)

Friday, March 3, 2017

Neighbors,

Yesterday the House passed the Uniform Labor Standards Act.

This bill, HF600, clarifies that only our state government can set minimum wage levels and employment standards. This precedence has been in place since Minnesota first became a state 160 years ago, but a recent trend in local governments (cities, towns, and counties) mandating additional minimum wage and employment benefit requirements makes this clarification necessary.

The confusing hodge-podge of mandates makes it difficult for small businesses to expand because they have to meet different standards depending on where they operate or send their employees.

Private businesses are fully capable of negotiating wages and benefits that are sustainable and fair for their employees. There is no reason for an additional level of government to step in and complicate things. Making employment standards uniform throughout Minnesota makes room for small business expansion, and more economic growth overall.

What is more, minimum wage and employment benefits have a huge impact on people’s lives; these issues should be decided by the level of government that reflects their importance.

This issue is currently being debated by the Senate.

On Tuesday, the Office of Minnesota Management and Budget released the February economic forecast. The forecast determines what funding is available to the state as the legislature works on assembling the 2018/19 budget. The forecast projected that Minnesota’s budget surplus will rise to $1.65 billion—an increase of about $250 million compared to projections last November.

The continued increase in the budget surplus makes it even more clear that Minnesota is overtaxing its citizens. One of our top priorities this year remains across the board tax relief.

Thank you,

 

Steve

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