Again this year, we surveyed our Star Tribune 100 companies on several business climate issues. We conducted our survey in March and April, sending out 108 forms and receiving 33 responses; not all companies answered all questions. The return rate was 30.5 percent.

1. Please rate each of the following public policy issues according to how important it is to your business. (Zero is not at all important, 3 is very important.)

Hiring/retaining workers 2.5

Federal tax rates 2.2

Economy 2.5

Health care benefits 2.1

Education 2.0

State tax rates 1.9

Wage rates 1.8

Transportation 1.5

2. What are your company's plans for capital spending in the next 12 months?

No significant changes 16

Decrease capital spending 3

Increase capital spending 13

3. What are your company's plans for hiring in the next 12 months?

Decrease head count 0

Keep staffing levels about the same 15

Increase head count 16

4. Does the cost of health care influence your decision to add employees?

Little or no influence 11

Some influence 2

Significant influence 19

5. How much does the current strength of the U.S. dollar affect your business?

Negative impact 16

No impact 11

Positive impact 5

6. Businesses face pressure on many economic and political fronts. Please rank how significant these pressures are on your business. (Zero is not at all important, 3 is very important.)

U.S. economy 2.6

Increased regulatory enforcement 2.2

Global competition 2.0

Health care 2.0

Minnesota economy 1.8

Digital security 1.7

Energy costs 1.6

Privacy regulations 1.3

Housing slump 1.2

Climate change 0.7

7. In the coming year, what is the sales outlook for your company?

About the same 2

Better than 2014 23

Worse than 2014 2

8. Compared with a year ago, does your business or industry have more or less access to capital?

Less access 0

About the same 18

More access 8

9. Oil prices are at the lowest levels since 2008. How much would sustained low oil prices affect your business?

Significant benefit 3

Neutral to no benefit 18

Adverse impact on business 5

10. Does your company offer a wellness program to employees?

Yes 22

No 5

11. Do you agree or disagree that wellness programs help to reduce health care costs?

Agree 25

Disagree 1

No view 1

Staff report