Search
Archives
Categories

Archive for the ‘Small Business’ Category

When I spotted this article announcing the passing of Dick Bernick, it made me sad. It isn’t because I knew him for a long time, though I wish I had known Dick’s family longer.

When famous people pass away, it’s often said that they were pillars of their community. Dick Bernick wasn’t just a pillar of this community. It’s that, if you looked in a dictionary for the definition of the term ‘good corporate citizen’, it would’ve been entirely fitting to find Dick’s picture there instead of words.

In the article, St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis said “He was very upbeat. He just had all this energy and just always had a smile. I don’t think I’ve ever talked to Dick where he wasn’t smiling a big smile.” I can vouch for that. Though I didn’t know Dick that long compared with others, the times I did interact with him, he was constantly smiling. This picture was typical:

The thing that should be known about the Bernick family business is that they, like Coborn’s Supermarkets, as they were called at the time, gave many young people their first jobs in St. Cloud. Bernick’s helped teach a generation of St. Cloud youth the importance of a strong work ethic and reliability. It isn’t overstatement to say that Bernick’s taught them the tools to prosper.

It isn’t overstatement to say that Dick was a force for good in St. Cloud. The company that he took over in the 1950s is now in the steady hands of his family.

Dick Bernick is survived by Lila, his wife of 67 years, “five children and 11 grandchildren.” Here’s hoping that they’re feeling the impact of the prayers and well wishes of their many friends.

One of the major highlights of CNN’s townhall meeting with Speaker Ryan at George Washington University came during the question of the night. That’s when Speaker Ryan announced that the House would repeal the ACA and pass the Republican replacement “at the same time, and in some cases in the same bill.” Speaker Ryan continued, saying “So we want to advance repealing this law with its replacement at the same time.”

The first person to ask a question of Speaker Ryan was a small business owner named Jeff Jeans, who identified himself as a former Republican and a cancer survivor. Jeans told Speaker Ryan “Just like you, I was opposed to the Affordable Care Act. When it was passed, I told my wife we would close our business before I’d comply with this law. Then, at 49, I was given 6 weeks to live and with a very curable type of cancer. We offered 3 times the cost of my treatments, which was rejected. They required an insurance card. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I’m standing here alive. Being both a small business person and a person with pre-existing conditions, I rely on the Affordable Care Act to purchase my own insurance. Why would you repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement?”

Ryan replied “We wouldn’t do that. We want to replace it with something better. … We believe that state high risk pools are a smarter way of guaranteeing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. We had a really good one in Wisconsin. Utah had a really great one. I was talking with a congresswoman from Washington today who was telling me how good their high risk pool is. What I mean when I say this is that about 8% of all the people less than 65 years of age have that type of pre-existing condition. … We don’t want people to go poor or go bankrupt because this thing happens to them so we obviously want a system where they can get affordable coverage without going bankrupt when they get sick. But we can do that without destroying the rest of the health care system for everybody else. That’s the point I’m trying to make. What we should have done is fix what was broken in health care without breaking what was working with health care and that’s what Obamacare unfortunately did.”

Here’s the video of that exchange:

It’s worth noting that Minnesota had a high risk pool, too, which was also working well until the ACA destroyed it. In 2007, before then-Sen. Obama was elected president, Minnesota boasted that 92.8% of its citizens were insured. Of those that didn’t have health insurance, more than half were eligible for some sort of taxpayer-subsidized health insurance. Had those people gotten signed up, Minnesota’s insured rate would’ve exceeded 97%, which would’ve been better than anything that the ACA could ever hope to accomplish.

What’s particularly insulting and infuriating is the fact that Democrats know the Republicans’ plans. It’s infuriating because Ryan’s plan has been out there for months. If there’s anything certain about Speaker Ryan, it’s that he’s a policy junkie in the best sense of the word. He lives to write great legislation.

Speaker Ryan said that he didn’t have a specific date that he’d put on repealing and replacing the ACA, though he told Jake Tapper that he thinks it will happen in President Trump’s first 100 days.

If that happens, you’ll see the economy take off because Obamacare is sucking the incentive out of growing small businesses. Watch the entire video. It’s educational and enlightening.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , ,

In mid-June, Gov. Dayton pocket vetoed a tax relief bill that would’ve provided tax relief to lots of middle-class people, which I wrote about here. The editorial I quoted got it right when it said “when Gov. Mark Dayton pocket vetoed HF 848 which would’ve provided significant tax relief to the citizens of Minnesota, it sort of felt like something major was lost. Gone was tax relief for veterans, gone was tax relief for small business owners, gone was a tax break for farmers, gone was a tax break for the residents of Houston County who live in Minnesota but work in Wisconsin, gone was the forgiveness of interest paid on debt on the new school building.”

Gov. Dayton didn’t hesitate in vetoing this tax relief for farmers, veterans, small businesses and students. There’s something else that Gov. Dayton didn’t hesitate in doing. Gov. Dayton didn’t hesitate in paying his political appointees huge severance packages. Republicans are demanding that Gov. Dayton rescind those severance packages. Gov. Dayton, through his mouthpiece, has refused:

State law explicitly authorizes severance of up to six months’ salary for senior-level state employees, who make more than 60 percent of the governor’s salary, when they leave state service. We offered severances of up to three months’ salary to three agency heads, as the law expressly permits. The governor made those decisions, and in his judgement the circumstances justified those severances. Gov. Pawlenty used the same statute to authorize severance payments of $73,552 for two senior-level state employees. House Republicans are desperately trying to place a fig leaf over their failure last session to pass the bills that Minnesotans really need: a correctly-written tax bill, statewide building projects, and improved highways, roads, bridges and public transit.

WCCO’s Pat Kessler highlights this important difference:

MMB documents show Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty paid out $75,552 in severance checks to two state workers in 2005 who were not political appointees. One former employee, an administrative law judge, got $26,478. Another, a legislative audit manager, got $47,097.

They weren’t political appointees. They were public employees with lots of time on the job. Speaking of which, “Republicans say the law allows severance only under strict conditions, one of which is 10 years of service before becoming eligible. Republicans say the law allows severance only under strict conditions, one of which is 10 years of service before becoming eligible.”

The moral of this is that Gov. Dayton killed tax relief to farmers, veterans, students buried with student loan debt and small businesses without hesitation. By comparison, he’s fighting hard for illegal severance packages for his political appointees. It’s apparent that Gov. Dayton’s priorities aren’t Minnesota’s priorities.

Finally, it’s worth noting that the DFL legislative leaders, who spout off about all kinds of silly subjects, are silent about this. It’s just more proof that the DFL isn’t the party of the little guy … unless they’re government employees.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The DFL has insisted from the start of this election cycle that Angie Craig was competitive in CD-2, especially once John Kline announced his retirement. When the first fundraising report came out, the DFL’s cries got louder that Angie Craig would flip that seat.

I’ve been skeptical of the DFL’s claims from the start because Angie Craig, like Tarryl Clark in CD-6 in 2010, isn’t a good fit for CD-2. A loyal reader of LFR said that there are lots of entrepreneurs in CD-2. While Craig can appeal to those voters to a certain extent, she might have difficulty appealing to them because Bernie Sanders’ policies are definitely anti-small business. Sen. Sanders wants tons of regulations and higher top tax rates. Those definitely aren’t small business friendly policies.

The reason I mention Bernie Sanders is because an organization called Our Revolution has endorsed Angie Craig, Rick Nolan and Keith Ellison for congress from Minnesota. Here’s a little information on that organization:

Our Revolution will revitalize American democracy by unifying the millions of people who got involved over the course of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in support of progressive causes.

Let’s rewrite that sentence to make it accurate. It would say “Our Revolution will revitalize American democracy by unifying the millions of people who got involved over the course of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in support of socialist causes.” Small business entrepreneurship and socialism fit together like oil and water. In other words, they don’t fit together.

There’s nothing in Angie Craig’s history that suggests she’s truly pro-small business. These endorsements indicate that she’s a Sanders lefty:

Lori Swanson and Sandy Pappas are definitely 2 of the more far left lefties in Minnesota, with bigtime climate change credentials. The League of Conservation Voters is definitely anti-development and anti-small business.

So much for Angie Craig being pro-small business.

If you want to help get Jason Lewis elected, please consider contributing to his campaign. Also, if you want to get the word out on the real Angie Craig, please consider contributing to LFR by clicking on the “Donate” button in the top right corner of the page. You know that the MSM won’t tell Craig’s story. I will.

One of the things we learn about Zach Dorholt is that he’s proud of his being a small business owner. One of the things highlighted on Dorholt’s Meet Zach Dorholt page is this paragraph, which reads “Following his entrepreneurial instincts, Zach co-founded The Old Capital Tavern in Sauk Rapids with like-minded friends in 2012. The venture was a first step in building unique businesses that support local economics and highlight Central Minnesota culture.”

It’s understatement to say that the people LFR has talked with from central Minnesota are skeptical of Mr. Dorholt’s entrepreneurial enthusiasm. The biggest reason they question Mr. Dorholt’s entrepreneurial expertise is because he voted for a ton of tax increases that hit small businesses directly, then voted the next spring to repeal the tax increases he’d voted for in 2013.

Those don’t sound like the actions a pro-entrepreneurial politician would make. They sound like the actions of a pro-high taxes politician would make after he’s revealed his political leanings and he knows he’s gone too far to get re-elected.

As for being a small business person, apparently Mr. Dorholt thinks health regulations are optional:

MN Rule 4626.0225 Use spatulas, tongs, deli tissue or other dispensing equipment to limit direct hand contact with food or ice.
Cook was observed dispensing buns, French fries and other condiments with his bare hands.

The reason for these regulations is so that people don’t get sick. A true businessman pays attention to details like that. That wasn’t the only violation. Here’s another:

MN Rule 4626.0070 Food employees must wash their hands at the hand wash sink in the food preparation area by vigorously rubbing together their soap lathered hands and arms for at least 20 seconds, scrubbing underneath the fingernails with a fingernail brush, and rinsing with clean water.
Cook was observed working with raw fish and rinsing his hands in the sink for approximately 5 seconds.

I’m betting that Dorholt invested a little money in the business so he could say he’s a small businessman but doesn’t pay attention to things. Then again, I might be wrong. He might be a hands-on owner who thinks regulations are suggestions.

This article from AFSCME Minnesota’s website highlights how spoiled their workers are. For instance, Roberta Suski said “We had to have a lot of hard conversations about whether we could afford for me to be out the entire 12 weeks, knowing six weeks would be unpaid. We are barely scraping by right now.”

When I worked at Fingerhut, they were known for having one of the best benefit packages in Minnesota. FYI- I worked there until April, 1997. Parents of newborn children or parents who adopted children were given 6 weeks off. Their time off wasn’t paid. In the 20 years I worked there, nobody complained about not getting paid time off for having children.

Fast forward to today. Specifically focus on the tax increases envisioned in this article. Envision a “payroll tax of $1.70 per week on both employers and employees would fund the leave benefit.”

Politicians complain all the time about unfunded mandates handed down by the federal government. I’ve never heard a politician whine about passing legislation that essentially passes an unfunded mandate onto businesses. The argument that ‘everyone benefits’ is BS. What AFSCME doesn’t want to admit is that businesses don’t benefit from being forced into paying employees not to work for extended periods of time.

If they were being honest, what AFSCME would admit is that ‘everyone that matters to us benefits’. The truth is that the DFL is attempting to put another stifling burden on business. The truth is that the DFL and AFSCME, if they got their way, wouldn’t improve people’s lives. They’d just chase more businesses from Minnesota.

This weekend was a bit uncomfortable at the Gross household. Saturday afternoon, the water heater stopped producing hot water. At first, I thought it was just that the pilot light had gone out. My amateur diagnosis turned out to be wrong so I called St. Augusta Plumbing to set up an appointment for this morning. They got here at 9:15. It took them just 15 minutes to diagnose and fix the problem.

The serviceman was professional. The price was relatively cheap. The water heater is heating water again as I’m typing this. Life is good at the Gross home once again. The point is that there are other more high profile plumbers in St. Cloud. They’re also more expensive. Thanks to the small businessman who runs St. Augusta Plumbing, my water heater is working again and I got it fixed for a price that I wouldn’t have gotten it at had I went with a higher profile big company.

I’m not the world’s best predictor but some things aren’t predictions. They’re sure things. I wrote this post to lay out the statistics indicating that the Dayton-DFL cigarette tax increase would hurt Minnesota’s convenience stores. That prediction took less than a month to come true:

“Petro Serve USA” CEO Kent Satrang says the shift to North Dakota was almost immediate. Satrang says the convenience store industry lobbied the legislature for a smaller tax increase.

I wish I could say that these businesses weren’t getting hurt but I can’t. Thanks to the Dayton-DFL cigarette tax increase, they’re getting hurt. Don Davis’ article highlights the situation:

Recent news reports of cigarettes being smuggled into Minnesota come as no surprise.

Dale Erickson, general manager of Henry’s Foods in Alexandria, told Governor Mark Dayton in a March 2013 town hall meeting in Moorhead that a proposed cigarette tax increase would mean Interstate 94 “will become a black market highway” as cigarettes taxed at a lower North Dakota rate would show up in Minnesota. “There is no way to trace the cigarettes,” Erickson said.

Erickson and convenience store owner Frank Orton told Dayton that they would lose business to Fargo, North Dakota stores that collect smaller taxes. “Minnesotans could drive across the bridge to Fargo and buy their cigarettes for $18 less per carton,” Erickson said.

The Dayton-DFL ‘solution’ is as foolish as their tax increase is hurtful:

[S]tate officials say they need $1 million to improve their tobacco law enforcement. Officials say cigarette smuggling costs the state $2.6 million in tax revenues.

Repealing the cigarette tax would help these small businesses that are getting hurt. Unfortunately, that isn’t an option with the DFL. Republicans should refuse to spend a penny on additional “tobacco law enforcement” by saying that we don’t need to tie up the courts with these prosecutions.

Friday night, Collin Peterson collided with Torrey Westrom in a debate. Here’s the video for the entire debate:

Saying that it was contentious is understatement. It was also inspirational and infuriating. This clip fits into the infuriating category:

Here’s what Collin Peterson said in defending his decision not to vote for Obamacare:

PETERSON: I didn’t vote for this bill. The reason I didn’t vote for it — the reason I didn’t vote for it is because I actually read the bill, which a lot of people didn’t.

That’s the first time Peterson said he’d read the bill prior to passing it. That runs contrary to what then-Speaker Pelosi said:

Here are her infamous words:

But we have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it.

The key point in all this is that, if it’s true, Collin Peterson knew what was in the bill but didn’t criticize the ACA. It’s one thing to stay silent on a bill you mildly disagree with. It’s almost justifiable if you think it might work. There was nothing in the ACA that suggested it would work.

For instance, if Peterson actually read the bill, he would’ve known that people couldn’t keep the plans they liked. Sitting silent while that abomination hits the American people is despicable. Edmund Burke got it right with this famous quote:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Collin Peterson did nothing. As a result, people in the Seventh District are getting bad news. Torrey Westrom is definitely speaking up about it:

“All you need to do is travel the district and talk to the small business owners that are getting renewal notices from their employees,” Westrom responded. “They’re seeing 40, 50, 60, 80% increases. I just talked to a person in my home county two weeks ago at the coffee shop, and they said they’re seeing a 100 percent increase because of Obamacare. That is a critical, a big concern, and why I am pushing that we need to repeal Obamacare, different from the congressman.”

Torrey Westrom’s closing statement was inspirational. Here’s that closing statement:

Saying that he returned to bailing hay on the family farm just a year after permanently losing his sight is inspirational. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that I appreciated Westrom’s statement that “even I can see that Washington is broken.”

Torrey’s sense of humor, combined with Torrey’s can-do attitude speak to one thing: that Torrey will be a positive, powerful force in Washington, DC.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , ,

To the surprise of nobody, the St. Cloud Times in endorsing Joe Perske and Al Franken. What’s surprising is that the Times admits they’re biased:

Central Minnesotans should back Sartell Mayor Joe Perske in the 6th District House race and incumbent Al Franken in the race for U.S. Senate.

Republicans will immediately call “liberal bias” with the endorsement of two Democrats. The truth, though, in both these races is no matter which major-party candidate wins, the victor is going to seldom cross party lines and compromise on major issues.

Before anyone gets their undies in a bunch, it’s clear that the St. Cloud Times thinks they’re fairly impartial. The truth is that they aren’t impartial. Here’s proof:

Voters need to elect the person who can begin to restore district credibility while improving the return district residents get on the tax dollars they send to Washington.

The soft-spoken, blue-collar-leaning Perske is a better choice than Republican Tom Emmer. While Emmer is the likely favorite because of the district’s conservative demographics, voters need to seriously consider whether his political persona will help the district. He’s similarly conservative to Bachmann and he is known as a political bully, which makes his House strategy is “building relationships” a tough sell.

The Times’ logic behind endorsing Joe Perske is that he’s a “blue-collar-leaning” kind of guy and that Tom Emmer’s a “political bully.” That’s stunning in its lack of seriousness. There’s this though:

Voters need to elect the person who can begin to restore district credibility while improving the return district residents get on the tax dollars they send to Washington.

I won’t insist that the Sixth District’s credibility is untattered. That said, the Times Editorial Board’s animosity towards Michele Bachmann is extensive and well documented. Another thing I’ll say is that it isn’t just about “improving the return district residents get on the tax dollars they send to Washington.” It’s about whose policies will strengthen central Minnesota’s economy and Minnesota’s economy.

One of the things Tom Emmer will jump right into is cutting the federal government’s wasteful spending. He’s spoken frequently about his admiration of Sen. Tom Coborn, the man who put together a series of videos on sequestration.

Franken

In not endorsing Al Franken in 2008, this board cited Independence candidate Dean Barkley as being most in touch with local, middle-class voters. Franken objected immediately and vowed to show it. In six years, and in a highly polarized Capitol, he has, and he deserves re-election.

Again, noting neither he nor Republican challenger Mike McFadden will stray far from their respective party’s line, Franken still stood up for Main Street over Wall Street, for a reasonable farm bill, and for better matching people with employers through education.

That’s insulting. The Times didn’t mention the fact that Sen. Franken signed onto letters that oppressed his president’s political opponents while ignoring the Bill of Rights protections of citizens. The Times ignored the fact that Sen. Franken signed onto a letter to the IRS directing the IRS to apply additional scrutiny to TEA Party organizations.

As for Sen. Franken staying in touch with Main Street, he’d pass with flying colors if Main Street was defined as a union hall. If staying in touch with Main Street is defined by holding town halls in profitable businesses, Franken would get a D-.

Technorati: , , , , , , ,