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Giving Small Businesses Tools to Grow

“When our small businesses thrive so do our local economies. The success of small business owners is a key to ensuring that our economy works for everyone and not just the well-connected few"

Hibbing Daily Tribune

DFL legislators have rolled out a multi-item plan aimed at helping small businesses.

The “Next Generation Main Street Act” proposal seeks to help small business owners with initiatives ranging from simplifying tax filings to making it easier for generational succession planning to reducing costly audits.

“Minnesota was recently named the best state to do business in. Let’s continue down that path with forward thinking initiatives like the Next Generation Main Street Act,” said state Sen. Melisa Franzen, DFL-Edina, a sponsor of the bill.

“As a small business owner myself, I know how hard it can be to get a business off the ground. This bill gives small business owners the tools to focus on growing their business rather than getting tangled in government bureaucracy. This bill streamlines audits and engages emerging businesses so that Minnesota’s entrepreneurs can see even more success.”

House and Senate bills have been filed.

Here are some provisions of the proposal:

• Supporting Small Business Start-Ups & Entrepreneurs:

Every person who starts a small business in Minnesota would be contacted and provided information about the resources available to them. In addition, help would be provided for start-ups with gap financing through the Minnesota Initiative Foundations.

• Generation to Generation:

The act would help those businesses and communities by providing grants to Small Business Development Centers to provide transaction services to business owners and next generation, non-family proprietors to help them take over a business.

• Streamlining Audits:

The act would streamline and simplify the process to reduce the amount of time and money small business owners must spend on costly audits in a number of ways. For example, the bill would change statutes so the Department of Revenue “may” rather than “must” assign penalties. In addition, they would waive penalties for minor or inadvertent compliance issues.

• Simplifying Tax Filing:

State and federal changes make tax season complicated each year for businesses. The proposal would simplify tax filing for small businesses by enacting federal tax conformity so that Minnesota businesses can file taxes without delay and uncertainty in 2016. The legislation would make tax conformity automatic so that the annual uncertainty over what rules apply for state taxpayers would be eliminated.

DFLers say their proposal was developed after listening to small business owners’ concerns.

“When our small businesses thrive so do our local economies. The success of small business owners is a key to ensuring that our economy works for everyone and not just the well-connected few,” said Rep. Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis.

“We listened to small businesses over the past year and have put together a package of bills that responds to some of the practical challenges they face in managing and expanding their businesses.”