At the November General Election, St. Paul residents will be presented with a rent control ballot question. Your Chamber has joined a coalition of business groups, real estate professionals, and trade unions to oppose this proposed action. Quite simply: Think Twice. On its face, rent control sounds easy. Logical even. Until you scratch the surface. And then you should be alarmed. This is a political tool to address an economic challenge. And nowhere in the world is such an ordinance in place. Because it doesn’t work (one of many references: according to Brookings Institution, rent control is a short-term solution, but “in the long run it decreases affordability, fuels gentrifications, and creates negative spillovers on the surrounding neighborhood.”)
I want to back up for just a moment. As a Chamber, we have taken a very clear and strong position in support of equity. We believe that the future of our economy depends on how we address equity and inclusion today. Our opposition of this ordinance is in alignment with our values because rent control will not deliver what we need – more quality housing that is available and accessible to all Saint Paul residents.
A good question: if we oppose this proposed ordinance, what are we for? We support the need for housing that is affordable and accessible. We acknowledge that the private sector must demonstrate real commitment to this. We also want to encourage all housing development – at every price point. To support that, there are other options worth exploring. And we are committed to that policy work into 2022.
What would the rent control policy do to Saint Paul taxes? Take the time to read it. Seriously.
In other news:
Finally, today is Indigenous People’s Day. As we talk about the place we’re in, I want us to think bigger, deeper, and longer. For the moment, I’d like to think of Saint Paul specifically. The Prairie Island Indian Community remains deeply committed to Saint Paul. In honor of the Dakotah and all our first people, I’d like to share a land acknowledgement today:
The St. Paul Area Chamber acknowledges that the land we work and live on is the traditional and ancestral homeland of the Daḳota people, as well as other indigenous people. The Daḳota were forced to cede their lands in return for goods and services, but the government did not uphold the terms of these treaties, which lead to widespread devastation. We recognize this painful past, and we honor Daḳota peoples’ history on this land, their sovereignty, and their continued contributions to our region.
Minnesota comes from the Daḳota name for this region, Mni Sota Maḳoce (ma-KOH-chay) — "the land where the waters reflect the skies." The Daḳota and numerous other Indigenous peoples, whose cultural, spiritual, and economic practices are inherently woven into this landscape, hold this land sacred. We recognize them as the original stewards of this land who had thriving and vibrant communities prior to white settlement. By offering this land acknowledgement, we affirm tribal sovereignty and enlist today’s participants to learn more about the history and culture of the Dakota and other indigenous people of Minnesota.
Across the state, hospitalizations surge as cases climb – especially in Greater Minnesota. That said, nationally, COVID-19 is in mysterious retreat. Is the worst of the pandemic behind us or is this another repeat of the “two-month cycle”?
Pfizer has asked the government to authorize its COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11. If approved, reduced-dose kids’ shots could begin within a matter of weeks. Meanwhile, students (and staff) are getting COVID. And Minnesota caregivers are dealing with a ‘capacity crisis’ with pediatric hospital beds.
Tools from the Department of Labor:
The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis continues to track the economic recovery among businesses across the Ninth District, a region that includes Minnesota, the Dakotas, Montana, parts of Wisconsin, and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Please take this 5-minute survey to help the Minneapolis Fed and President Neel Kashkari better understand effects on your firm. With other business voices from across the Ninth District, your input will help the Federal Reserve System shape monetary policy to help businesses thrive. If you get this survey from multiple sources, please respond to the survey only once.
National jobs report for September: it’s a mixed bag. Hiring has slowed, a lot of parents are still not working because of kids at home, but unemployment is down to 4.8%, and the national health outlook has improved.
Debt limit: The House's recess will be interrupted Tuesday for a vote on the Senate-passed measure to lift the debt limit by $480 billion, according to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). What we're watching: The measure is expected to pass and President Joe Biden is expected to sign it, avoiding what the Treasury Department predicted to be a default on Oct. 18. But the temporary fix leaves only one other certainty: lawmakers will be facing the same problem in a few short months. What's more, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saidRepublicans will filibuster any attempts to address the ceiling via regular order, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has continued to insist that Democrats will not use reconciliation to raise it on their own.
County: Last Tuesday was a momentous day for the the Rush Line. The Ramsey County Board committed $39.9M to the project, a key step toward securing federal money to help pay for the estimated $457M-$457M line.
Read more updates in our weekly Chamber Advocacy Update
More Big News: the 2022 MLS All-Star game is coming to Saint Paul.
The good news for restaurants? Customers are coming back – especially in the suburbs, benefitting from the continuation of remote work. Do your part to visit your favorite place with some of your favorite people – and do so downtown, if you can! Looking forward to seeing you at the newly-reopened St. Paul Grill, or St. Paul’s original Green Mill, among others. And don’t miss Summit Brewing celebrating 35 years – we’re all invited to the party on Saturday, Oct 16.
Mall of America announces its newest cohort of vendors for its Community Commons space.
Find out what’s going on with your Chamber on our Events Calendar!
The mission of the St. Paul Area Charitable Foundation is to make targeted investments to develop and support engaged leaders who enhance a vibrant East Metro business community. Our Really Big Time (Virtual) Silent Auction to support the work runs Oct 12 – Oct 20. The Foundation supports Leadership Saint Paul, the Equity Leadership Series, and the DEI Collaborative. We encourage you to support the Foundation through shopping the auction – it opens on Oct 12!
The Ramsey County WIB has added a new Construction-Green Jobs Committee to focus on uplifting the construction industry and the emergency of green career pathways.
Calling all BIPOC Interested in Board Service! Attend this virtual Board Recruitment Fair on Oct 26, 5-7pm.
In Saint Paul: what should happen with the Public Safety Annex and Pedro Park? See the plan and more info on the City's Pedro Park web page. A process that started with an RFP in 2017 has languished since. The Capitol River Council would like to hear your ideas. Contact Jon Fure at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-221-0488.