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House takes big step to boost business climate

March 23, 2012
Gary Andersen, Lee Smith , Fairmont Sentinel

When government imposes burdens on businesses - taxes, fees, onerous regulations - what is the result? Those costs are passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices for the goods and services businesses provide. So when citizens and public officials push for taxing businesses (or taxing them more), they are actually pushing to tax all of us more.

Another effect of government burdens on business is to make a state or nation's business climate less friendly. Businesses then look to build facilities or expand overseas, or in the next state, where taxes and regulations are lower. In other words, high taxes and regulations tend to drive away investment and hiring.

So we applaud the work of lawmakers including state Rep. Bob Gunther, R-Fairmont, who this week helped guide a bill through the state House of Representatives. It reduces and then eliminates state property taxes on businesses. The goal is to make the state more friendly to job creators, to let them know "Minnesota is open for business," as Gunther says.

The opposition's response to this bill tells us a lot about their misperceptions of society. DFL Rep. Paul Marquart of Dilworth sees the bill, of course, in terms of class warfare. He says it benefits wealthy corporations and hurts senior citizens and the middle class. He is referring to a proposed reduction in the size of a renter credit to help offset the $880 million the state will "lose" by eliminating the business property tax. But the renter credit reduction only relates to that portion of rent that covers the building owner's property tax. So right there is the perfect example of a business (a landlord) passing on taxes to customers (renters). But Marquart can't see it. He is too blinded, as are many, by an unjust vision of the business community.

Such prejudices need to be set aside to foster a more prosperous Minnesota. The bill passed this week is a good step.



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