At a town hall meeting hosted by Minnesota Department of Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans, the governor-appointed Frans told a Thief River Falls entrepreneur that he did not build his business alone. This comment is not only disrespectful to the business owner and disregards his humble, early beginnings; it also reflects the attitude toward entrepreneurs held by Gov. Dayton’s administration as a whole.
Think of all of the great businesses and farms of all sizes in northern Minnesota that employ thousands of people and add to our local economy. These businesses weren’t started by big government. They weren’t the ideas of bureaucrats or officials in St. Paul or Washington. They were built on foundations of entrepreneurial spirit and hard work, and for that, our area reaps the benefits of economic success and stability.
The Dayton administration would have us think differently. Not unlike President Obama who recently said, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen,” it appears that the Dayton administration doesn’t believe that we should make Minnesota’s tax code competitive with neighboring states.
Over the last two years, the new Republican-led Legislature recognized that, with a weak economy, it is not healthy to start raising taxes. Instead, we focused on streamlining some of the burdensome regulatory processes in order to make it easier to start and run a business in Minnesota.
The results thus far have been positive. We continue to receive good economic news, including greater-than-expected surpluses, the creation of 50,000 jobs since we took office, and a much lower unemployment rate than the national average (5.6 percent versus 8.2 percent in June).
What we’ve done is working, and we’re on the right path. But we’re still not where we want to be. At the meeting, the entrepreneur’s point was that business taxes in the State of Minnesota make his company uncompetitive. (We are ranked as one of the worst business tax climates in the nation – 45th out of 50! – and Gov. Dayton’s plan would have bumped us even lower.)
As would be expected, uncompetitive businesses do not stay and expand here in Minnesota. They either close their doors or leave to neighboring states like North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, thereby reducing the current and future tax base.
Other states recognize that they are ahead of the curve. In fact, you may have heard the South Dakota governor’s voice on the radio calling for Minnesota businesses to relocate to the state where “…you won’t find a corporate income tax, personal income tax, or inheritance tax. We don’t have those taxes. Leave the taxes behind. Come to South Dakota where you can make a profit and keep it.”
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It is evident from the commissioner’s response to the business owner that there are two vastly different ideas as to how we should help our economy grow and add jobs to our area.
The Dayton administration proposes big government, increased taxes, and long-term dependency. We maintain that local businesses, the backbone of our economy, will help rebuild our economy with a more favorable tax code that makes it easier for business owners to operate and expand, decreased regulations, and a government that gets out of the way. These are the things that entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes need to be successful in our state.
Minnesota business owners don’t want to close their doors or move to another state – but they may not have a choice. If implemented, the Dayton administration’s tax plan may make that decision for them.
Kiel represents District 1B. Fabian represents District 1A. They are both Republicans.