DFL tax proposals target job creators
What a difference eight weeks makes. In January, House Speaker Paul Thissen and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk addressed our Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Board. They pledged to work with the business community to solve the state’s deficit without harming jobs. This week, Thissen asked small businesses to pony up more money for a budget that proposes significant increases in spending and taxes and not enough spending reform.
That’s right: Raising personal income taxes is a direct hit on the small businesses and entrepreneurs that flow business income through personal income taxes. Gov. Mark Dayton already has proposed raising the state’s top personal income tax rate to 9.85 percent, which will affect 21,000 of Minnesota’s most successful businesses. House Democrats upped the ante by proposing a temporary surcharge on the highest wage-earners. At 11 percent, the income-tax rate would be second-highest in the nation. Senate Democrats have yet to offer specifics, so we hope they do not take the same path as the governor and House leadership.
Some legislators say the Minnesota Chamber unnecessarily paints a negative picture when we raise concerns about high taxes and an uncompetitive business climate. Their budget proposals reinforce our concerns. They propose raising between $2 billion and $2.5 billion in new taxes to fix a short-term $627 million problem. It’s fair to question how such significant new tax burdens will help generate jobs and economic growth.
David C. Olson; president, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce
* * *
Employers ‘could’ choose good policies
A March 20 letter writer missed an option when he wrote that “raising the minimum wage leaves employers two options: Hire fewer workers, or raise prices to cover the added expense.” The third option is for employers to distribute profits ethically themselves. (Like that Costco guy. People like him.)
Most folks against a minimum wage are smart; they know about this third option. Why they choose to amputate it from their worldview is simple, and very human — greed. Greed harms humanity, just as murder and theft do. Society makes laws to mitigate murder and theft; why not greed?
For further perspective on ethical distribution of profits, research CEO-to-worker pay ratios from 30 years ago. For the religious, James 5:1-6 can help sew that third option back on.
Richard Widen, Minneapolis
• • •
I wonder if Best Buy’s elimination of flex scheduling will backfire. A number of years ago, my then-husband worked as an engineer at a local company. He was a night owl, so went into work at 9:30 a.m. but would stay until well after 8 p.m. A vice president parked by the door and noticed people arriving at all hours, which disturbed him. He declared that all people were to work from 8 to 5, starting immediately. Productivity plummeted, and people actively sought jobs at other companies.
Keep in mind, this when employees could cross the street and get a comparable job the next day. The policy lasted two weeks.
People have flex hours for many reasons: working while they get their degree; being with their children until the school bus arrives; working during their most productive hours (night owl/early bird). Companies that care about employees as well as productivity take this into account.
Barbara Burkey, Roseville
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.