Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Monday, January 05, 2009

FAIRLY GOOD NEWS

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce held conversations during 2007 with the owners and top-level managers of over 700 Minnesota companies in 52 communities. These were one on one visits. What did they find out about the climate for businesses in Minnesota? Note: most of the visits were done before August 1. Here are some of the results.
1. Sales were up.
2. Fewer expansions were on the horizon.
3. Employers were saving on facilities so they can keep more people employed.
4. About one in ten of the companies that are looking at expansion are looking outside of the state of Minnesota. Why? Proximity to customers, rising utility costs, and state tax burden.
5. One in seven of the businesses visited asked for help. The top three items on the list were:
A. Assistance in business expansion
B. Securing permits from state agencies
C. Addressing workforce shortages
Some of these issues were region-specific i.e. housing in southwestern Minnesota, transportation for workers in the Twin Cities, and relief from rising energy prices in the northeast. This information is part of background for the Minnesota Chambers public policy agenda for the 2009 legislative session. Among the initiatives are: aging workforce and disparity in Minnesota in the educational achievement among the advantaged and disadvantaged students. The Chamber is promoting balancing the state budget without a general fund tax increase and they want health care reforms to produce measurable improvements in the quality and affordability of health care. These are noble and reasonable goals. I hope our legislators take note. end

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