New Ulm Chamber approves priorities for the 2017 Legislative Session

The New Ulm Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors recently approved a document highlighting their alignment with the MN Chamber Federation and drawing attention to local issues including: passage of the local option sales extension, completion of the HWY 14 expansion, child care availability and relief for area farmers.

Chamber Board Chair Kathy Van Roekel – NU-Telecom said, “we know that what happens in St. Paul affect our members in New Ulm and we wanted to respond to issues concerning our members and the local business community”.

 “The 2017 Legislation Session will be very interesting with many twists and turns before May. We appreciate and depend on the efforts of the Minnesota Chamber to carry statewide business community issues to the legislature. This document represents locally supported project issues or initiatives that also need legislative and executive branch support and attention.” stated Chamber President Audra Shaneman.

The New Ulm Area Chamber of Commerce represents 340 members in the New Ulm area of 13,500 citizens.  The major industries in the area are manufacturing and agriculture.  The Chamber’s mission is to support and strengthen Chamber Members through the promotion and development of the business community.  Information about New Ulm and the Chamber can be found at



2017 Legislative Priorities of the New Ulm Area Chamber of Commerce

The New Ulm Area Chamber of Commerce represents 340 members from a variety of business sectors in a community of 13,500 citizens.  Our major industries are manufacturing and agricultural – and we are a regional center of commerce providing retail, health care, professional services and entertainment through our festivals and attractions.

Our organization is an active member of the Minnesota Chamber Federation and supports their following five priorities for the 2017 Legislative Session. (For more detail on these positions, see information from the MN Chamber. )

  • Enact Meaningful Business Tax Relief
  • Transportation Investment
  • Provide Flexibility for Employers in regards to benefits and workplace policies
  • Health Care
  • Lawsuit Reform  (ADA modification)

In New Ulm, our local priorities for the 2017 Legislative Session include:

State approval of the RENU local option sales tax extension

Background:  In November of 2016, voters in New Ulm passed an effort to extend our Local Option Sales Tax to provide funds for projects designated by the community.  The measure passed with 70% of the vote and having this pass at the state level is one of our top priorities.

Completion of the HWY 14 project to be 4-lanes from New Ulm to Rochester

Background:  Many of our jobs in New Ulm are connected to the manufacturing industry which depends on a dependable transportation infrastructure including completing the Hwy 14 4-lane project from New Ulm to Rochester – connecting us to State Highway 169 State Highway 60 and Interstate 35 and other distribution points of Mankato and Owatonna.  In addition, we strongly support any measure that funds the Corridors of Commerce program which has made incremental progress on HWY 14 possible.

Child Care Regulations

Background:  Due to a variety of factors, New Ulm and Brown County are experiencing a lack of accessible, affordable and quality child care for working families.   Our efforts to research the situation further have highlighted some state regulations that seem inhibiting to the creation of these needed small businesses.   Child safety and quality of care is the priority however we would suggest that the yearly required hours of training and level of education required to work in a center be some of the requirements reassessed during the 2017 Legislative Session

Property Tax Relief for Ag Land

Our students and community are enjoying the brand new ISD 88 High School facility recently opened and made possible by a property tax referendum.  Because of the impact of and current status of the ag economy, we do support a tax credit to individual farm owners for some of their property tax bill.