News

  • Rate shock hits Minnesota's small group health insurance market

    The Freedom Foundation of Minnesota released an analysis this week of small group health insurance in Minnesota, finding massive rate hikes for many small businesses and their employees that are being forced into compliance with the Affordable Care Act. Read the Freedom Foundation’s full report here. According to rates submitted by insurers and approved by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, insurance is about to get much more expensive for small businesses and their employees, particularly th...

  • Teacher freedom in Michigan

    Michigan’s new right-to-work law is starting to show results, with more workers exercising their freedom from unionization and compulsory dues. And just as we’ve seen in other states that respect workers’ constitutional rights, teachers are among those most anxious to strip away the union’s shackles. According to the Education Intelligence Agency, the state’s teachers’ union, Michigan Education Association (MEA) lost 5,000 members last month alone.

  • Big Labor claims victory in unfair fight

    The state announced in late August that labor union Service Employees International Union (SEIU) was victorious in the largest union election in state history. SEIU has won the right to "represent" Minnesota’s personal care assistants (PCAs), or home health workers. However, the arrangement still faces legal challenges, and rightly so, especially in light of questions about the integrity and transparency with which the election was conducted.

  • Jobs, revenue numbers headed in wrong direction

    Minnesota lost 4,200 jobs in July, and state government officials revised June’s job numbers downward by 3,600. June’s downgrade is the fifth consecutive downward revision of monthly job numbers by the Department of Employment and Economic Development. Notably, if not surprisingly, much of the job growth over the past year has been in government.

  • Minnesota near the top on state employee health plan spending

    The State of Minnesota offers extraordinarily generous health benefits for government employees, according to a new report by The Pew Charitable Trusts. The report includes data and 50-state comparisons on issues like employee health insurance premiums, cost-sharing arrangements, and analysis of provider networks. Among the findings from the Pew report: Minnesota is one of just a handful of states where state employees contribute an average of $0 to individual health plan premiums, with taxpayer...

  • Minimum wage hike goes into effect

    On August 1, Minnesota’s minimum wage increased to $8.00 an hour in the first of three incremental increases that will culminate with a $9.50 minimum wage in 2016. Fox 21 News in Duluth-Superior has a good story on the law’s impact on one local employer, Grandma’s Restaurant Company, which employs 400-600 people in its restaurants. Grandma’s regional manager Tony Boen told Fox 21 that the company’s restaurants have already begun raising prices in response to the minimum wage hike and are also lo...

  • Will Minnesota employers be hit with a “bad boss tax”?

    TakeAction Minnesota, a hard-left pressure group that is funded in large part by labor unions, announced a new policy proposal ostensibly aimed at helping low-wage workers. According to In These Times, which covers labor movement news, TakeAction is proposing a so-called “Bad Boss Tax” to be introduced in the Minnesota legislature next year. Excerpt: "It’s developing the framework for a bill that it hopes will be introduced in 2015 by state legislators who have worked with the network in the pas...

  • Local tax news roundup

    New wheelage tax: Isanti County commissioners approved a $10 wheelage tax this month. According to the Isanti County News, county finance director Chad Struss said, "the projected $339,000 revenue is equivalent to a 2 percent property tax levy increase." In a memo to the county board, Struss explained: "From a budget standpoint, the additional revenue would certainly be helpful. The 2015 budget will be difficult to balance without an increase in the property tax levy or a reduction of service le...

  • State commissioner's labor union income attracts more scrutiny

    Last week, the Freedom Foundation revealed that Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS) Commissioner Josh Tilsen has been collecting income from labor unions while serving in the Dayton Administration. BMS is the state agency charged with resolving labor disputes and overseeing union elections. This week, Watchdog.org reports that Tilsen’s consulting activities appear to be more extensive than previously known: "Tilsen received $7,451 in 2013 from AFSCME Council 61 in Des Moines, Iowa, for arbitratin...

  • State commissioner's consulting business raises questions

    Governor Dayton appointed Josh Tilsen to be commissioner of the Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS) in Feburary 2011. As BMS commissioner, Tilsen administers union elections, resolves collective bargaining disputes, and oversees labor mediation and arbitration activities. He is paid more than $95,000 per year by the State of Minnesota for this full-time role.

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