Advocacy

The Hermantown Area Chamber’s mission – “To promote the business community and enhance opportunities for success.” and its motto, “Business & Community – In Unity” both point to the importance of Advocacy as one of our core values.

Decisions made at every level of government – whether locally at city hall, school boards, the county courthouse, or in St. Paul and Washington – have a profound impact on our local businesses and the economy. That is why the Chamber is committed to being your eyes and ears – and, when needed, a non-partisan voice for the business community. The Chamber accomplishes this through:

The Chamber accomplishes its Advocacy efforts through:

Additional resources
Election and voting information
Public officials and government links (coming soon)

Contact the Chamber:
If you have any questions regarding the Chamber’s role in governmental affairs, please contact Kim Parmeter, President/CEO.

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Hermantown Area Chamber of Commerce chose to band together with the MN Chamber of Commerce and several other chambers of commerce and trade associations throughout the state to share our voice collectively representing thousands of businesses across Minnesota.  These letters to our legislators and governor were posted on our Facebook Note page since March 2020, however, Facebook eliminated that feature in October 2020.  This correspondence will again be posted to this page in the near future.


Current Issues Being Discussed

SF2031:  Duluth Senator Jennifer A. McEwen (07, DFL) introduced legislation on March 11, 2021, raising the minimum wage in Minnesota to $17 PER HOUR for Large employers (above $500K in sales) and $15 PER HOUR for Small employers (below $500k in sales) by THIS AUGUST. While this bill most likely won’t go anywhere this session, we find it extremely concerning for business and for our members.   SF2031 Click the link for more info and click As Introduced for current bill text.
Here’s our official position on this action:
“There could not be a worse time to put forward legislation to increase the minimum wage regardless of whether you are for OR against increased wages for those on the lower end of the income spectrum. This simply cannot be absorbed by small businesses at this time, many of whom are barely hanging on through the pandemic.”
Further consideration:  If this comes to pass, our small business owners will end up cutting jobs, cutting services, and some will close their doors completely.
For those businesses that stay open, they will inevitably pass the increased costs onto the consumer which will eat up any gains these entry-level employees are making by this increase (if they are lucky enough to still have a job to go to). And remember, people do not pay taxes on what they are not earning.   It’s a vicious cycle, which is why we need businesses to do what they do best, run their business, and make common-sense decisions about wages that are appropriate for their business based on what the free market demands.   We encourage you to email her and ask her to withdraw  SF 2031. We did.  March 17, 2021

MN Chamber – 2021 SESSION PRIORITIES: LEADING MINNESOTA’S ECONOMIC RECOVERY  Status:  TBA following meeting Jan 6, 2021.

Proposed City of Hermantown sales tax increase of 0.05% for recreation plan (Legislature approval is needed first, before a vote is brought to the constituents)  (Jan/Feb 2020)  Status:  Tabled TFN due to COVID, various committees are still meeting.

New Developments in Hermantown (Jan/Feb 2020)  Status:  Ongoing

Housing – Affordable Housing Shortage, Senior Housing Shortage  Status:  Ongoing

MN Chamber – Session Priorities 2020  Status:  Many were tabled due to COVID, reabsorbed into 2021 session priorities.


Resolutions of Support / Opposition brought directly to our chamber

We are the collective voice for our members.  If a member or group of members brings us an issue, we will listen. Our practice has been to bring these members in to a regularly scheduled board meeting to present on the issue.  Then at the next regularly scheduled board meeting, we invite parties that have an opposing view of the issue to the table so that our board can get as complete of a picture as possible about an issue.  We want to truly understand how it affects our members and impacts our community before we use our voice and make a decision.  Reach out to us if you have an issue.  info@hermantownchamber.com  See below for some of the recent issues brought to the attention of our board, discussed and the outcome.

Position on:  CA Clean Car Rules for MN – through the Rulemaking process:  The Hermantown Area Chamber of Commerce opposes Governor Walz’s proposed LEV and ZEV mandates on Minnesota’s through rulemaking without going through the legislative process.  We also encourage Governor Walz to withdraw the proposed mandate and reconfigure in the form of legislation to be debated by state legislators and the public within the legislative process.  We believe that the free market should determine supply and demand of vehicles available for sale in our community, region and state.  We are willing to work with Governor Walz, his administration and Minnesota State Legislators on low and zero emission vehicle requirements that are more suitable for the terrain, climate and vehicle preferences in Minnesota.  We advocate against these mandates, and in support of our membership and the greater community as part of our commitment to support our members and advocate on behalf of their interests.  (Vote 11/18/2020)

Position on:  Family Leave Mandate – The Chamber Board of Directors made a formal statement OPPOSING this legislation in March 2019.  The Minnesota House of Representative (H.F.No.5) and Senate (S.F. No.1060) were seeking to create a state-administered paid family and medical leave insurance program.  It is proposed to be financed through an employer payroll tax of 0.6% of wages, and included partial wage replacement benefit for 12 weeks paid family and 12 weeks paid medical leave; employees could access both types of leave in a 12 month period, which would be 24 out of 52 weeks per year.

Position on:  Enbridge Line 3 — The Chamber Board of Directors passed a resolution SUPPORTING the Line 3 initiative in March 2019.  Representatives from Enbridge spoke to our Chamber board in January 2019.  In February 2019 we invited representatives of Honor The Earth in to share their position on the issue.

Position on:  City of Hermantown Stormwater Utility Fee — The Chamber Board of Directors passed a resolution opposing the fee in April 2018.  Please read this article in the Duluth News Tribune for more information about the issue.   http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/government-and-politics/4439105-hermantown-businesses-take-issue-new-stormwater-fee

Position on: Passenger Facilities Charge (PFC)

Position on: Tipped Employee Tier

Position on: WLSSD CHP Project


Candidate Forums

2020:  Instead of a traditional forum for candidates in 2020, candidates for all area races were invited to submit a video link to the chamber.  These were posted on our Facebook page.

2018:  A City Council Candidate Forum was held at Hermantown City Hall in October 2018.  This event was also live streamed on Facebook.


Economic Benchmarks

The Minnesota Business Benchmarks is a collection of key economic indicators that measure Minnesota’s competitiveness and health of our economy.

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