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“What this situation is, is really a stake in the heart of small business owners,” said Phil Krinkie, himself a business owner and president of the league.
Businesses with fewer than 50 employees account for 70 percent of the state’s workforce, Krinkie said. “We are the economic heart of Minnesota’s economy.”
State Rep. Bob Dettmer, R-Forest Lake, opposed the governor’s plan two years ago, and his view that it’s a job-killer, especially for small businesses, has not changed.
“I campaigned on prioritizing our spending, of staying within our means,” he said.
Like Krinkie, Dettmer said businesses already face a tough taxing and regulatory climate, and would be tempted to move elsewhere. “I think we’re doing a disservice to the business community and our economy by raining taxes on the fourth tier,” he said.
But state Rep. Dan Schoen, a freshman DFLer from St. Paul Park who sits on the Taxes Committee, said Minnesota voters were clear in the last election about wanting lawmakers to put middle-class priorities first.
Returning borrowed money to schools, funding education and job training, and bringing property tax relief will themselves spur the economy by job growth, he said. But that requires revenue instead of shuffling money and borrowing to make ends meet. It’s reasonable to ask the wealthiest few to pay more.
“They pay a lesser portion of income taxes than you or I do,” he said. “Our tax system is designed to be fair across the board. … The fairest tax is the income tax. It works.”
Jim Anderson • 651-925-5039