Date: January 04, 2017


MINNEAPOLIS (January 4, 2017): The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) announced their legislative agenda today that includes measures to create a more business-friendly environment in Minnesota. The state’s largest small business advocacy group is hoping to see legislators focus on policies that will improve the tax climate in the state as well as prioritize the needs of small employers.


“We have the luxury of beginning 2017 with a $1.4 billion surplus and our members would certainly like to see the Governor and legislators begin to tackle some of the onerous policies that are stifling the progress of the small business community in Minnesota,” according to NFIB Minnesota state director, Mike Hickey. “Our top agenda item is no doubt conforming Minnesota’s estate tax exemption to the federal level. Doing so will finally allow family run businesses, including farms, to transition their lifelong hard work to other family members without being penalized for doing so.”


The estate tax threshold for Minnesota is currently $1.6 million per person while at the federal level, it sits at $5.4 million. Although in 2018 the threshold is slated to increase to $2 million, there is still significant enough of a gap that those with the means to leave the state for a friendlier tax climate often do so. Unfortunately, farms and most family held small businesses don’t always have that option and can really feel the bite of the estate tax when attempting to transfer the business to family members. Inter-state competition continues to play a role in the small business community, and NFIB is hoping to see legislators look to their neighbors for strategies that will focus on business retention.


“In order to mitigate against Minnesota losing businesses to surrounding states, it is imperative to reduce the state general tax portion of Minnesota’s commercial property tax.  Doing so will go a long way towards making the state more competitive as well alleviate the burden of this very large, fixed cost for business owners,” continued Hickey.


An overly litigious environment in the state resulted in a new bill passed last year that NFIB believes did not go far enough to protect small business owners from being targeted by career litigants in lawsuits involving compliance with Minnesota’s public accommodation laws.


“Last year’s bill was certainly flawed. Most notably, it does not allow a small business owner the chance to correct a compliance issue prior to a lawsuit being filed,” said Hickey. “The bill must go further to ensure that employers be granted an opportunity to address the issue. When a small business owner is tied up in court, it drains their time and resources instead of allowing them to improve and expand their businesses.” 


The small business community remains increasingly concerned with the existing health insurance market that has been absolutely devastated by Obamacare. All eyes are certainly on Washington, D.C. to see how the new Congress acts. Unfortunately, one thing remains certain, and that is that the state will have to address significant market reforms this session regardless of what happens. 

Related Content: Small Business News | Economy | Minnesota

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