It's Time to Create a Broad and Durable Prosperity in Minnesota

Minnesota is making progress. Our economy is growing and we have lower unemployment than many other states. Unfortunately, too many Minnesotans are left out of the state’s economic opportunities, and we can’t afford to reverse the progress that’s been made.


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Instead, we need to continue to make investments in world-class schools, supporting our workforce, strong infrastructure and other building blocks of a broad and more durable prosperity.

For nearly two decades, the Minnesota Budget Project has supported that vision of the future, along with a fair and sustainable tax system that makes those investments possible.

In 2016, we started to work in coalition with small-business owners who bring into the public debate their on-the-ground perspective of what’s needed to strengthen their communities and the state’s economy.  

Background

Minnesota has been making significant progress through tax reforms that have made Minnesota taxes more equitable, while raising revenues to fund crucial investments and end a decade of frequent budget deficits. Over the past two years, policymakers began re-investing in early childhood education, our schools, making college more affordable, and other components of a broader and more durable prosperity. 

The projected $900 million budget surplus provided policymakers with an opportunity in the 2016 Legislative Session to make strategic investments, such as in affordable child care and other supports for our workforce, and reliable infrastructure.

The House tax bill proposed in 2015 and up for consideration again in 2016 would have prevented those types of investments. The bill had originally proposed $2 billion in tax cuts. Proposals such as cutting the estate tax don’t provide any benefit to most small businesses, and completely eliminating the state property tax would ultimately provide the largest tax cuts to the highest-value business properties. These types of poorly targeted tax cuts crowd out needed investments that can keep small businesses and our economy thriving.

In addition, large tax cuts are ineffective at spurring economic growth. One example is Kansas. That state went all in with sweeping tax cuts in 2013, but the tax cuts haven’t delivered, and instead economic growth and income growth in Kansas have slowed.

Voices of Small Businesses

The voices of small business owners who prioritize investments over tax cuts are too often missing at the Legislature. That’s why a group of them came together during the 2016 Legislative Session to share a message for policymakers: Large tax cuts aren’t the answer for them.

These business owners believe that public investments that strengthen businesses, communities and families can lead to a broader, more durable prosperity in Minnesota.

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