The latest “Business Benchmarks” report from the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce finds Minnesota employers still struggling to find qualified workers for available jobs, with an estimated shortage of 239-thousand by 2022. The state college and university system is asking the legislature for a larger-than-usual funding increase of 246 million dollars to improve training programs. Minnesota Chamber Senior V-P Laura Bordelon says before talking about that, “Let’s make sure that the money that’s flowing into the systems is working as effectively as we’d like it to be right now, so the current resources flowing into those systems are for educating and training the work force of the future.” The issue will likely receive significant attention in the 2019 legislative session as lawmakers set a new two-year state budget.
The Minnesota Chamber is also planning another push at the legislature to reduce business taxes. That will probably be more difficult than two years ago, because in 2019 Democrats will control not only the governor’s office but also the Minnesota House, with Republicans retaining a razor-thin one-vote majority in the Minnesota Senate. The Chamber’s Bordelon argues the state has had continued budget surpluses and the budget reserves will be at an historic high. “There are revenues to make investments and there are certainly revenues to make our business taxes more competitive, and we plan on making that case to the legislature, she says. Bordelon notes Minnesota is 3rd highest in the nation for corporate tax rates and 5th-highest for individual income tax rates.
More in this interview with MNN’s Bill Werner: