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Legislative priorities for Minn. Chamber of Commerce

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce will focus on six top legislative priorities at the State Capitol in 2013.

Education and workforce

Strengthen the education and workforce development systems:

* Ensure that all high school graduates have practical and academic skills to enter postsecondary education or workforce, or both, without basic skills remediation.

* Better align postsecondary offerings with employer demands.

Spending and tax reform

Reform the spending system to have long-term stability by making spending decisions based on statewide priorities and measureable outcomes. Determine how much is needed to address priorities:

* Improve the tax system to keep and grow jobs in Minnesota in an increasingly competitive global economy. Develop a new tax structure from a revenue-neutral perspective. Once the new system is agreed to and adopted, discuss the amount of money that should be raised and legislate accordingly.

Health care

Implement a Minnesota-made health insurance exchange that facilities, not regulates, an informed consumer marketplace:

* Businesses and employers want to buy quality care at a good value. That means they need good information on both the results of providers and the cost of coverage.

* Employers are finding it tougher to provide health insurance as costs rise.


Energy costs were once a competitive advantage for Minnesota businesses. In many parts of the state, that advantage is eroding or gone due to rising electric rates:

* Rates should reflect the cost of serving the customer. Regulators should make this their mantra and, where necessary, state law should be changed.

Environmental regulations

Businesses remain frustrated with the time and uncertainty of environmental regulations:

* The longer it takes to get a permit and the more cumbersome the regulations, the greater likelihood that Minnesota companies will take their jobs elsewhere.

Election reform

Minnesota will be better served if challengers and incumbents compete on a level playing field:

* Move the primary election to June to give primary winners — especially those who are new to politics or defeat an incumbent — greater opportunity to establish a campaign for the November general election.

* An earlier primary election should increase voter participation. Fewer than one in 10 Minnesotans voted in the August 2012 primary.