MN Chamber Rates State Lawmakers’ Voting Records
The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce published this year’s “Legislative Voting Record” Monday, detailing how various lawmakers voted on bills that it considers to be important to the business community.
The Chamber listed major bills that saw action during the 2014 session and indicated whether it supported the measures and whether they passed. It also charted Minnesota lawmakers’ voting records and marked how many times they voted with or against the Chamber’s position. See the full Chamber report here.
In the introduction to the report, Laura Bordelon, vice president of advocacy for the Chamber, wrote that, while the Chamber believes progress was made on certain fronts, there were also setbacks, claiming that certain legislation (and Governor Mark Dayton) are steering the state down the wrong path, as it pertains to the business community.
“The path they have chosen for Minnesota is one that relies on higher taxes and more government spending as a means to a better state economy,” Bordelon wrote, “rather than an economically competitive model that strengthens and improves the state’s overall business and job-creation climate.”
Not surprisingly, the majority of the lawmakers that sided with the Chamber were most often members of the Republican party—many of them sided with the Chamber on nearly every issue.
Although Democratic members typically voted against the issues that the Chamber supported, both groups tended to agree on the 2014 Omnibus Tax Bill, which included the repeal of all three business-to-business sales taxes and the newly enacted gift tax—all of which the Chamber had vehemently opposed.
One measure that the Chamber opposed but still passed was an increase of the minimum wage, from $6.15 to $9.50 by 2016—with an inflation adjustment provision in 2018. In the report, the Chamber said it was concerned the move may cause a reduction in the availability of entry-level jobs for lower-skilled workers.
In scoring legislators, the Chamber gave many Republican leaders perfect scores—including House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt—for voting on its side on all of the 11 issues it listed.
On the flip side, three Democratic legislators scored zero points with the Chamber: Representative Susan Allen, Representative Karen Clark, Senate President Sandra Pappas, and Senator John Marty. Additionally, many Democrats received just one positive rating from the Chamber—mainly for voting in favor of the Omnibus Tax Bill—including House Speaker Paul Thissen, House Majority Leader Erin Murphy, and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk.