Minnesota's 2020 Legislative Priorities

Date: December 17, 2019

Here's how NFIB plans to help small business next year.

The Minnesota legislature gavels in on February 11th. Before lawmakers return to St. Paul, NFIB State Director Mike Hickey is reminding lawmakers to keep small business in mind. Small business owners create jobs and keep Minnesota’s economy running. However, last session, state lawmakers passed a burdensome new hiring requirement and imposed an unworkable penalty on employers in wage disputes. This session, NFIB is working to revise these laws and enact other positive measures to help small business owners. Here are NFIB’s top priorities for the 2020 legislative session.

 

Small Business/Farmer Exemption to New Hire Mandate

During last year’s closed-door budget negotiations during the special session, lawmakers made a deal that hurts small business owners across the state. The new hiring impact now causing hardship for every small business owner in the state who must now complete tedious and time consuming paperwork for every single full and part time employee – even if that employee only works for the small business owner for a few hours or a few days. In addition to providing employees a written notice that includes a host of things such as rate of pay, vacation, benefits, and pay deduction, small business owners must also include details such as the business’ name, address and phone number. But it doesn’t end there. Employers are also mandated to send their employees written communication every time they change their pay rate. Small business owners already spend too much time filling out government paperwork when they should be focused on creating jobs. NFIB is urging lawmakers to give small businesses with less than 20 employees an exemption to this ridiculous new law.

Revise Employer Penalty Language

Also included in the above-mentioned wage theft legislation is a potentially costly provision for businesses with wage disputes involving a former or current employee. The new law eliminates the previous 15-day penalty cap that employers owed an employee when they lost the claim. Now, the penalty is very open-ended, ranging from eight months to a year depending on how long it takes a judge to resolve the case in court. The new and longer penalty range will cause a significant financial hardship for many small businesses causing many to stop fighting these kinds of claims, even if they are dishonest or bogus. NFIB is asking lawmakers to revise this unfair policy and restore a reasonable 15 or 20-day penalty cap.

 

Tax Bill, Section 179 Conformity

Minnesota is far out of conformity with the federal tax deduction law for businesses and farms, which allows business owners to deduct up to $1 million per year for essential equipment purchases. The state of Minnesota, however, only allows Minnesota business owners to deduct up to $25,000 the first year. While some revisions have been made, Minnesota law still requires small business owners and farmers to amortize their deductions over a period of six years. Oftentimes, the equipment breaks down or is no longer being used well before that mark. Considering the state has a $1.3 billion surplus, NFIB is asking lawmakers to bring Minnesota’s tax deduction in conformity with the federal law.

 

Mandatory Review Process for New Health Insurance Mandates

Before Obamacare, Minnesota had more than 60 health insurance mandates that unfairly impacted small businesses and individuals. Obamacare adopted nearly all of them and now Minnesota lawmakers are talking about pushing even more mandates of the backs of small businesses and individuals – even though most are now paying much larger premiums under the new law. Unfairly, large and most medium sized companies and an increasing number of government employee groups insured under the federal ERISA law are exempt from these new mandates. NFIB is asking lawmakers to pass legislation that requires any new mandates to be studied by an actuary before they could be considered by the legislature.

Related Content: Analysis | State | Minnesota

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