The upcoming issue of Enterprise Minnesota magazine features some sage advice from Jim Seifert, an attorney with the Fafinski Mark & Johnson law firm and former legislator.
His advice to manufacturers, while we’re in the heart of the 2021 legislative session, is simple: engage with your legislators.
“It’s absolutely critical that manufacturers establish relationships with legislators. They should know who they are. They should know what their interests and policy priorities are. And they should ideally have at least one face-to-face meeting with a legislator or senior staff member.”
Seifert’s law practice specializes in issues facing manufacturers, including operations planning and corporate governance, among others. Combined with his years in the legislature, he speaks from a position of experience and authority when he says the people who show up have the power. Showing up can mean writing a letter, making a phone call, sending an email, testifying at a House or Senate committee hearing — whatever it takes to get your issues in front of the eyes of people making policy decisions.
Seifert outlines a grim state budget scenario. With a looming deficit and no apparent plans from the governor to reduce government spending, a tax increase could be imminent. Seifert advises manufacturers to calculate the potential impact of a tax increase their business and proactively tell legislators know how taxes will affect jobs in their districts.
“If they don’t,” he says, “silence is often interpreted as agreement. They should actively participate in the process.”
This advice is particularly relevant in the COVID economy. While some manufacturers are thriving, the same can’t be said for all. Some are hurting. Which is why it’s critical for all manufacturers to communicate those struggles to decision makers who have the power to do something about it.
One investment we’d like manufacturers to emphasize when they’re reaching out to legislators is the Growth Acceleration Program (GAP), a state matching investment, to help small and medium size manufacturing companies access business improvement services. These direct investments have led to job creation, job retention and business growth for Minnesota manufacturers and the communities in which they are often the largest employers of good jobs. GAP funding allows qualifying companies to receive up to a 50% rebate for services the company receives.
This kind of state investment is a lifeline for small manufacturers, and it already has bipartisan support. In the same upcoming magazine issue where Seifert encourages manufacturers to engage with elected officials, elected officials from both sides of the aisle voiced support for GAP investments. One of them, Rep. Barb Haley of Red Wing, said, “The Growth Acceleration Program has a proven outcome of producing jobs and helping small businesses and manufacturers succeed. And that lifts up our whole economy.”
You can read more about Jim Seifert’s thoughts on COVID and how manufacturers can become more successful in the Spring 2021 issue of Enterprise Minnesota® magazine.
February 25 – Strategically Navigating an Uncertain Future
Our strategy and revenue growth expert Steve Haarstad will show you how to shorten your strategic outlook to help navigate uncertainty and plot a course for your company’s continued success. Online via Zoom Learn more and register
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April 8 – How to Manage a High Performing Business: ISO
Learn the key elements of effective business management systems and the value of ISO 9001:2015 certification from expert David Ahlquist. Online via Zoom Learn more and register
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