EP Legislative breakfast

From left, State Sens. Melisa Franzen and Steve Cwodzinski with State Rep. Steve Elkins at the Eden Prairie Chamber’s legislative issues breakfast.

State Rep. Steve Elkins, DFL-Bloomington, and State Sens. Melisa Franzen, DFL-Edina, and Steve Cwodzinski, DFL-Eden Prairie, spoke before the Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce on the morning of Friday, Feb. 22, to discuss legislative issues with business leaders from their districts.

The legislators reflected on how policy handed down from the Capitol affects the bottom lines of businesses in a variety of ways. All three expressed frustration with the Legislature’s delay in bringing Minnesota’s tax code more closely in line with the federal tax code.

Elkins said the current federal tax code is “kind of designed to stick it to high-tax, high-service states like Minnesota.” He speculated that the state’s taxes may remain out of line with federal taxes in the future.

Local business owners are losing employees to congestion and transportation difficulties, Cwodzinski said. He pointed to a law that limits where teenagers can work — not in factories, as “ice harvesters” or on a trapeze — as outdated legislation that could be changed to benefit business owners who need workers in a tight job market, and he asked the attendees for their advice on policies that would help them.

“We need your help to remove the stigma that the Democratic party is anti-business,” he said.

Franzen also touched on complaints she’s heard about the lack of a skilled workforce from business owners, saying that investment in education will bring about the skill sets that business owners need to spur development.

“That’s our future, that’s your employee base,” she said.

Eden Teller is the multimedia reporter for Eden Prairie News. She's passionate about fostering productive conversations and empowering communities. When she's not reporting, she can be found reading a book, on a hike or tackling home improvement projects.

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