Happy 2023, everyone. I hope you had an opportunity to recharge over the holidays. We certainly did. As we start the new year, I’ve modified our blog moving forward. I’d like to go deeper on particular areas of interest, and leave the news updates to other partners. Let me know what you think!
Two things are front of mind for me: public safety and this legislative session (Be sure to join us for our annual Breakfast with the Mayors event on Jan 26, to hear from Mayors Carter and Frey on these issues and more).
First continues to be public safety. I look forward to the new Chief’s ideas and stronger response from the county attorney's office in the form of more prosecutions. The City also is doing yeoman’s work to reach the unsheltered, and they need more support – and state funds – to assist. We have a moral imperative to ensure our “housing of last defense” option is not the skyway system or buildings downtown.
Second, of course, is the legislative session ahead.
Among St. Paul’s priorities, Mayor Carter will be presenting his proposed 1% sales tax for legislative approval. I did share my early thoughts with the media when asked; thus far, we’ve still got questions. Here’s what I do know: the City has some very real infrastructure challenges, and improvements can’t be supported totally through property taxes alone (and that resource continues to shrink as a % of population). Philosophically, I’m not opposed to a sales tax – with a couple very specific clarifications/restrictions. Working with other St. Paul business partners, the Chamber will be surveying our members for your feedback on the Mayor's sales tax. We will be supporting the City’s legislative efforts to reconfigure the LGA formula to ensure the capital city receives a more fair share of those funds to support infrastructure that is used by all of us in the state of Minnesota. We believe that should be the City's top priority and is the most expedient way to address its budget challenges.
At the state level, if early indications prove out, this will be a very interesting session. Like many of you, I was at the MN Chamber Session Priorities event last week. We heard from the Governor and DFL majority. Since then, I’ve also read a few analyses of what to expect this Session. Governor indicates he wants a combination of tax cuts and tax rebates.
Controversial, but likely: reproductive rights, paid family leave, legalized cannibis, expanded voting access
Governor and legislators alike indicated that a bonding bill is a “must have.” I agree with the Governor’s approach to use one-time money for one-time investments. This is a real opportunity for big thinking/investments.
And in Ramsey County, hopefully that’s good for us.
Finally, I continue to track economic indicators. Join us on Wed, Jan 11, for our virtual Lunch With Leaders. We’ll be hearing from the Federal Reserve on economic outlook for 2023 and beyond.
See you in the trenches.