We sent the following questions to the 2018 Gubernatorial candidates through email addresses provided on their websites. We sent follow up emails to candidates who did not respond to the first request.
Click each question to read how each of the candidates responded.
It’s difficult for small businesses to offer health care coverage benefits because most don’t have a large pool of employees that would allow them to consolidate costs, making them less competitive with larger corporations. Against the wishes of small business owners, provisions for a small business benefits pool were cut out of MNSure legislation when it was enacted. Now there is other legislation being considered that would help relieve small businesses of this inequity.
PAID FAMILY & MEDICAL LEAVE
Small businesses want to be able to provide great benefits that help level the playing field and allow them to compete with large corporations for the best employees. Legislation passed in Rhode Island, New Jersey and California has created an affordable payroll insurance pool to help small businesses afford to pay its employees for family and medical leave.
Most small businesses cannot afford to provide child care for their employees or even themselves. This makes it difficult to compete for the best employees and can threaten their very existence, especially for small businesses in Greater Minnesota.
BUDGET, TAXES AND INVESTMENTS
Small business owners understand that pocketing too much of their profits while not investing enough back into their business can cause them to go out of business. Small business owners would benefit from Minnesota practicing the same caution.
Question #4: Would you support smart, fiscally responsible tax legislation that ends tax subsidies benefiting only a few Minnesotans and large corporations, raising additional revenue to make smart investments in infrastructure, broadband access, child care and other things that help all Minnesotans and small businesses?
Minnesota small businesses have a giant impact on the state’s economy -- they employed 1.2 million people, or 47.9% of the private workforce, in 2014, while providing economic diversity and strengthening community vitality.
But only a fraction of state and local economic development investment dollars are currently spent on supporting and strengthening small businesses. All too many small business leaders face giant barriers in getting their businesses started. Access to credit is a prohibitive barrier for many emerging and growing businesses and hits hardest in our communities that most need the positive economic impact of small businesses. In fact, in 2015 the median income for small business owners with incorporated businesses was $48,241, and for business owners with unincorporated firms, $25,811. A little help in credit can go a long way in helping to get small businesses established, growing, and providing all the great localized impact that we know they have in our communities.
Question #5: Given the economic engine inherent in small business growth for Minnesota, how would you make small business investments a priority for state government, and how would you increase financial assistance for this critical sector of our economy as part of a comprehensive economic development strategy?
Question #6: What policy solutions could the state consider to create access to more credit and more targeted technical assistance for small business owners, particularly businesses owned by women and people of color?
Question #7: There is currently very limited communication between government and small business owners. What ideas do you have for effective outreach to small business owners about the existing and potential new programs available to them under your administration?