Tell the governor he can’t be pro-jobs and anti-business

by David C. Olson
Special to Sun Thisweek

Gov. Mark Dayton’s proposed budget has put Minnesota in the national headlines, and that’s not good. He proposes huge increases in taxes and spending with little reform in either. Policy-makers across the nation are seizing the opportunity to make a pitch to Minnesota businesses.

Rep. Erik Severson, a Duluth native now serving in the Wisconsin Legislature, fired one of the first salvos with a press release inviting companies to cross the border. Many may scoff at his open letter to Minnesota businesses, calling it premature and nothing more than a publicity stunt. But the underlying message cannot be lost: Minnesota can expect more serious efforts to lure businesses away if the governor’s anti-jobs measures are passed.

Rest assured, many are watching closely to see what happens.

From a Wall Street Journal editorial: “Washington may be a tax reform wasteland, but out in the states the action is hot and heavy. … This state reform trend is a rare bright spot in the current high-tax era, and it will further sharpen the contrast in economic policies between GOP reform governors and the union-dominated high-tax models of California, Illinois, New York, Massachusetts and now Minnesota, where Gov. Mark Dayton proposed a huge tax hike. Let the policy competition begin.”

From Fox News: “A Florida Republican congressman is welcoming to his home state Minnesota residents who migrate south to escape the Midwest’s notoriously cold, harsh winters – now that their governor is trying to impose a so-called snowbird tax on them. ‘Dear Governor Mark Dayton,’ Rep. Trey Radel wrote. ‘…  As a Floridian, I am overjoyed to hear about your plan to raise taxes on Minnesotans, most especially the so-called snowbirds. Your proposal gives us a chance to shine here in the Sunshine State.’ ”

In fact, I was personally approached by Florida Gov. Rick Scott during a meeting with my colleagues from around the country. He told me matter-of-factly, “I hope Governor Dayton’s menu of tax increases passes.”

A day doesn’t pass that business owners don’t share their alarm over the governor’s measures. We hear your concerns loud and clear and are working full time to underscore your priorities with policy-makers.

There is no substitute, however, for business owners and managers bringing your message directly to those who make the decisions that impact your daily operations. We make it easy on March 13 at our 20th annual Business Day at the Capitol. The governor will be on hand to address the luncheon and field questions; then we’ll transport you to the Capitol for prearranged visits with your legislators. Scott Wine, chairman and CEO of Polaris Industries, will deliver the keynote address.

Please join us for what traditionally is the largest business lobbying day at the Capitol. A record-breaking attendance is more important than ever this year.

David Olson is president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce – Columns reflect the opinion of the author.