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GROW MINNESOTA

The state Chamber of Commerce's Grow Minnesota! business retention program made more than 800 personal visits to companies in 2006-07, its fourth year. The chamber reported that "they consistently give our state higher ratings as a place to live vs. a place to run a business. Clearly, our quality of life makes up for negatives like the high cost of health care, taxes and workers compensation."

Employers look to the state for help

  • December 4, 2007 - 7:56 PM
What are you wishing for from the 2008 Legislature? Four Minnesota entrepreneurs were asked that question in Bloomington on Tuesday, as they described the joys and challenges of doing business in Minnesota as part of a Grow Minnesota! annual meeting. Here's how they responded:

JAMES SIEBEN

General manager, Nova-Tech Engineering LLC, and president, MinnWest Technology Campus, an industrial park in Willmar

"At the MinnWest campus, we're working with the University of Minnesota ... and St. Cloud State ... in bringing academics to our campus. Funding for a building for the university would help us, through a grant" or bonding. "It would make a very large difference and a boost in the economy in our area."

JEFF STRAUSS,

Director of operations, Total Card, Inc., a credit card service company in Luverne:

"We're understaffed a lot of the time. Being on the border, I'd like to see something to attract people from out of state. Maybe a break on sales or income tax -- that might motivate some employees who work out of the state that are close by to make an extra effort" to work in Minnesota. "I'd like to see a break for people who live out of state and work in state. It just brings money to the economy."

DON PYATT

President, Viracon, Inc., a construction glass manufacturer in Owatonna

"I'd stick with the theme of training, helping especially our new workforce, many of whom are not English-speaking. Other areas might have to do with immigration policy, and how as an employer do we work through those issues? ... We are especially concerned with trying to get some of our new employees moving up through the supervisory and management ranks. We think that's critical to our being successful for the new employees in the future."

BRET WEISS,

President, WSB & Associates, a civil engineering firm in Plymouth

"Transportation. We need to find a dedicated funding source for transportation. Bonding is a nice choice, but you all know if you buy your house, you still have to have a source to pay for that. We need to have a new source to pay for transportation. So far, nobody has stepped up and done that. The governor needs to get behind it, and get something done."

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