Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Yesterday evening, we debated and passed the Uniform Employment Standards Act.
This bill, HF600, clarifies in statute that only the state government is responsible for mandating minimum wage levels and employment standards, not local governments. This has been the practice since Minnesota first became a state 160 years ago. However, a recent trend in local authorities (cities, towns, and counties) setting additional minimum wage and employment benefit requirements has made this clarification necessary.
The confusing patchwork of mandates created when local governments set employment standards makes it very difficult for our small business community to expand into other areas of the state or operate in the Metro.
Private businesses can, and are, able to negotiate wages and benefits with their employees that are sustainable for the business and fair for workers. There is no need for additional level of government mandates to step in and complicate the employer/employee relationship. With Minnesota’s unemployment rate at 3.9%- lower than the national average of 4.7% - businesses are competing with to attract and retain qualified employees by providing great wages and benefits packages. Keeping employment standards uniform across Minnesota allows for small business expansion into other areas of the state, and more economic growth overall.
Minimum wage and employment benefits requirements have a huge impact on the lives of Minnesotans, and should be determined by a level of government that respects their importance.
I will keep you informed as this issue is debated by the Senate.
This week was Arts Week at the capitol so many local patrons of the arts visited, especially from the Mora/Ogilvie area.
Here I am with Karen McQuoid from Mac's Twin Bay on Lake Mille Lacs. Karen testified for a proposal to provide property tax abatement for the businesses located on the lake in all three counties. The proposal was included in the tax bill that Gov. Dayton vetoed last year and was one of his ideas to help the lake community survive the early closure to walleye fishing in 2015. Karen gave a compelling testimony about what has happened to the lake as a result of DNR decisions.
Please don’t hesitate to contact my office to with any questions or concerns that may arise, or to schedule an appointment. I look forward to seeing more people from our community at the Capitol.