Lawmakers must listen to business community

We share the concerns of Minnesota Chamber of Commerce officials who visited Fairmont this week to discuss the state’s business climate. They note that state spending, and the tax hikes to fuel it, are going to be on the rise in the next two years. Meanwhile, statewide production of goods and services will decline.

Jim DeYoung, chairman of the Chamber, sees Minnesota suffering under these circumstances. He also suspects businesses will re-evaluate their decisions to be located in Minnesota, or to relocate here.

The Chamber does not take the position that wealthy people should not pay taxes. It does not say businesses should not contribute to the public good. It would appreciate some recognition that a healthy business environment benefits everyone, and that businesses should not simply be looked at as cash cows for various state schemes.

The Chamber, in essence, wants good, efficient state government. It is seeking some tax relief for members so that they can prosper and create jobs. It would like the state to focus on helping create skilled employees, through education and workforce training. It wants sensible regulations in place of unnecessary burdens on employers.

We cannot see how the Chamber’s message could be interpreted as anything but sensible. We believe state lawmakers, who will convene a few months down the road, should pay attention to the wise counsel of the business community. Its health is the foundation for the rest of society.