The Washington Examiner traveled to Minnesota to investigate the aftermath of the Democratic-controlled legislature's haste to enact progressive legislation. They discovered a struggling Republican Party, dissatisfied small business owners, and a total disregard for the concerns of those affected by the new laws. This series of articles will investigate the broken promises made by lawmakers, how Republicans are attempting to mitigate the damage, and the unintended consequences of the passed bills, including one that could portend disaster for small businesses.
In this series, the Washington Examiner takes a look at broken promises lawmakers made, how Republicans are trying to control the carnage, and the unintended consequences of some of the bills passed, including one that could wipe out small business owners. https://t.co/YWzpEKVtnn
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) July 24, 2023
Innovative Building Concepts's president, Jerrilynn Sweeney, used to bring her employees lunch every Wednesday to cultivate a sense of camaraderie. Recently, however, the atmosphere has changed. Sweeney, like many other small business owners in Minnesota, is preparing for the impact of new laws that target her industry. These regulations impose exorbitant costs and a complex web of regulations on small businesses, causing some to contemplate permanent closure. The Democrats in control have turned a blind eye to the perilous situation.
Voters in Minnesota were part of a surge that rejected Republican candidates in the midterm elections. This gave the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party control of four out of eight U.S. House seats, both U.S. Senate seats, the state legislature, and all other statewide offices, including the governor's office. With such overwhelming authority, the Democrats have swiftly enacted one of the nation's most progressive agendas, frequently ignoring the concerns of those affected by the regulations. Governor Tim Walz approved a state-run program that permits employees to take unpaid leave for several months for various reasons. This may sound appealing, but in reality it burdens businesses such as Sweeney's with additional costs and leaves them with unanswered concerns about the future.
Even for modest business owners like Mike Flynn, the outlook is bleak. Flynn, who owns a small ranch, has a stake in a restaurant, and is a dentist, is apprehensive about the impending storm. Legislators appear oblivious to the consequences of their actions and lack the business acumen necessary to make sensible decisions. The new law in Minnesota is one of the strictest and most comprehensive in the nation, and it will exacerbate the labor shortage. These new regulations will exacerbate the difficulty that small businesses already face in recruiting and replacing employees.
Their elected officials have betrayed the National Federation of Independent Businesses, which represents more than 10,000 small business owners in the state. They overcame the obstacles of the pandemic, inflation, and supply chain constraints, only to be confronted with more onerous regulations. Minnesota, with its high taxes and labor costs, is already the most costly state for new entrepreneurs. Nonetheless, Democratic lawmakers have the audacity to declare they are small-business supporters. It is ironic and frustrating for small business proprietors to see their aspirations and efforts crushed.
Sweeney views the company's future as uncertain and disheartening. The new laws will have a significant financial impact on small businesses like hers, making survival problematic. She believes that lawmakers should not be permitted to legislate unless they have firsthand experience running a small business, as they need to comprehend the actual budgets and challenges encountered by entrepreneurs. The Washington Examiner reached out to the Democratic leadership and Governor Walz's office for comment, but neither responded, highlighting the dearth of concern for the plight of small business owners.
As Minnesota continues to deal with the repercussions of the Democrats' progressive agenda, the Republican Party struggles to regain influence and give small business owners a voice. Part Two of the Washington Examiner's series examines the Minnesota Republican Party's efforts to make a revival.