Duluth business owners call for strengthening workforce with education investments

This is another 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.

In 1997, Patty McNulty joined Duke Skorich as a partner in his company, Zenith Research Group, Inc. Today, the Duluth market research firm serves businesses in a variety of industries and cities across the country. They have employed close to 100 people over the past 19 years.Photo of business owners Patty and Duke

Patty and Duke believe that continued investment in communities and neighborhoods throughout the state is essential to the strength of the Minnesota business climate. Minnesota’s economy cannot be sustained if economic opportunity is available only in the Twin Cities metro area.

“Small business is critical to the foundation of Minnesota’s economy,” Duke said. “Very often it is small businesses that allow cities, towns and villages to survive and prosper, while ensuring jobs for the people who live in those communities.”

For Patty and Duke, one of the greatest advantages of owning a small business in Minnesota has been the quality of education. “From our local school districts to our colleges and university system, Minnesota values education,” Patty said. “Job applicants, even those without higher education, have solid reading skills, good communication ability and a broad background in a variety of subjects.”

And Duke points out that Minnesota’s high-quality workforce is recognized by people and businesses in other states. “Educational investment is essential to building a strong economic future in the state,” he said. “The backbone of a strong business community are the workers, and Minnesota has always produced an educated workforce willing to be trained and equipped to produce.”

Like many small business owners across the state, they are 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 small businesses. In addition, large tax cuts crowd out the continued and strategic investments that benefit small businesses and allow towns and cities throughout Minnesota to thrive.

As Patty puts it, “Without the hundreds of small business owners and employees, Minnesota could easily lose what makes it the very distinctive place we love to call home.”

Join with Patty and Duke 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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