MN Chamber of Commerce Legislative Priorities

By KBJR News 1

MN Chamber of Commerce Legislative Priorities

November 2, 2010 Updated Nov 2, 2010 at 3:34 PM CDT

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce has 5 priorities for the upcoming year.

Their first and most important issue is dealing with the budget.

Senior Chamber Vice President Bill Blazar says despite the state's near $6 billion budget shortfall, there is still $33 billion in the state's general fund.

He says one of the first steps the new slate of legislators needs to take is prioritize programs and identify those that are most important.

"Use those $33 billion in the most effective way possible and from our perspective that's in ways that make our state more capable of making more jobs," says Blazar.

The chamber has identified education as its priority number two.

Blazar says the chamber is proposing Kindergarten through 12th grade teacher evaluations, more early education programs, and a better system for tracking students' reading progress.

"Until third grade you are learning to read but in fourth and from fourth grade on you read to learn," says Blazar.

The third identified priority is energy.

The Chamber is asking the legislature to lift the ban on nuclear power as a potential energy source.

"It doesn't say we are going to build a nuclear power plant. It just says we are going to see how much it would cost and have a decision on whether this is a cost effective strategy," says Blazar.

Fourth on the list, the chamber wants to make the industrial permitting process more predictable and more efficient.

And lastly the Minnesota Chamber is demanding a better system of intra–state transportation.

With a new governor and possibly many new state lawmakers, Minnesota Chamber officials say they are hoping to be able to work with them to help re–energize the state's economy.