An entrepreneur’s take on Minnesota’s budget debate

This is the second story in a series that shares why small business owners believe it’s important to reinvest our budget surplus back into our state to build a broader, more durable prosperity for all Minnesotans.

Todd Mikkelson built his business, Sprayrack, around an invention he patented, which has become the standard in the water and air infiltration testing industry. Reliance on internet sales and the need to ship heavy products across the state’s crumbling infrastructure impact Todd’s business daily.Photo of Todd Mikkelson

“In the past two years, shipping prices have gone up 10 percent. This is largely due to bad roads across the state,” Todd said. “Crumbling roads are costing car owners heavily in car repairs, and small business owners have to spend money on repairing their vehicles that they otherwise could have invested in their business.”

In addition to crumbling roads, access to broadband is essential for Todd’s customers to make product purchases. “We do all of our sales over the internet, which is why most of our cost is in shipping,” Todd said. “But I would not have been able to start my business or maintain it in the way that I am currently able to without strong internet service.”

Todd has benefited from his business’ proximity to the Twin Cities and the strong internet service that affords him. However, Todd believes reliable internet access should be commonly available regardless of geography.

“Last year the Legislature failed to fund broadband for Greater Minnesota,” Todd said. “Why should people living outside of the Twin Cities be denied the same entrepreneurial opportunities that I have?”

Todd, like many small business owners across the state, is worried that some of the current proposals to use the state’s budget surplus for large, poorly targeted tax cuts would primarily benefit large businesses and would do little for his small business.

Instead, Todd and others are calling for policymakers to invest the surplus. “By strategically investing in the state’s infrastructure and broadband, the Legislature would build a broader and more durable prosperity in Minnesota,” Todd said. “Small business owners would save money on shipping costs and entrepreneurs across the state would be on a level playing field when it comes to reliable internet service.”

Join with Todd and other like-minded small business owners to ensure the Legislature enacts budget policies that build a broader, durable prosperity in Minnesota. Sign the petition today.

Then join in a discussion on why state investments matter to you via Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag, #MNProsperity.

About Laura Mortenson

Laura Mortenson is the Minnesota Budget Project's communications manager.
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