At their May 30th Legislative Membership Meeting at Style Catering, over 40 members received updates from their state legislators and U.S. Chamber staff.
MN State Senator Andrew Mathews shared several items passed by the DFL majority: 20 weeks of paid leave paid by employees and employers through additional .07% payroll taxes starting in 2026, gas tax increase and indexed to inflation, higher energy costs for residents and businesses with green mandates. He added that contrary to what DFL candidates said during the campaign, Social Security taxes were not fully eliminated.
State Representative Shane Mekeland added that Xcel Energy will have 20,000 farmland acres in solar energy in Sherburne County in the next few years to provide the green energy mandated by the DFL majority. Rep. Mekeland and Senator Mathews had encouraged consideration of micro-nuclear energy as a less expensive and reasonable alternative.
Both Mathews and Mekeland noted that the $260 rebate checks/person is estimated to cover about 6 weeks of the increased taxes residents will face in the coming year. License tabs will go up. Deliveries over $100 will have a road maintenance surcharge of 50 cents. State budget was increased by nearly 40% in the next 2 years, including 400 employees for the paid leave program.
Education received increased funds but also increased mandates. The Republicans were able to negotiate an additional $300 million for nursing homes.
U.S. Chamber Senior Manager of the Midwest Region Ethan Hellier shared information about their Liberty Coalition to expand the number of legal immigrants and protect the borders. He also reported on the federal debt ceiling legislation with spending caps for the next 2 years going through Congress before the June 5th deadline for potential default.
Big Lake Chamber Executive Director Gloria Vande Brake encouraged businesses and employers to work with their attorneys and tax accountants to meet the various mandates. With the legalization of marijuana in August, employee policies may need to be reviewed. A mandatory paid earned sick and safe time of up to 48 hours is effective in January 2024 and may conflict with an employer’s current paid time-off policies. The Chamber will provide a timeline of these new mandates in their newsletters.