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Too Early to Tell Affects of Minnesota Government Shutdown on Most Businesses; Construction Industry Will Definitely Suffer

While it is too early to tell how most local businesses will be affected by the shutdown, with many state construction projects on hold, many workers have been laid off.

Among Minnesota’s nearly 164,000 businesses—from retailers and real estate agents to corporations and cosmetologists—the impact of a state government shutdown will be difficult to measure “due to the diverse landscape of businesses,” said Tom Hesse, an executive at the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.

Hesse predicted most businesses would feel only a minimal impact from a short-term shutdown.

President Steve Lindgren echoed Hesse’s assessment stating, “We are very concerned about the inability of the [Minnesota government] to reach an agreement prior to July 1 … [But], it is too early to tell the impact on our membership [and local businesses]."

Further, Brian Steinhoff, president of the Minnesota Retailers Association, said he has not heard an outcry from his membership. He said if the shutdown lasts two weeks, it may not have much of an impact on retailers and local economies. However, it were to last two months, for example, that could be another story.

“We’re in uncharted territory here,” Steinhoff said.

A big business loser would be the construction industry. The Associated General Contractors of Minnesota estimates 5,000 to 10,000 construction workers will be laid off if the state shuts down dozens of road and highway projects. A prolonged shutdown would be devastating to small and new general contractors, the group contended.

As for Richfield projects, the reconstruction of the Nicollet Avenue bridge would likely be delayed, according to a , city manager.

However, the should not be affected. The project is being run by the Metropolitan Council, which is a political subdivision, not a state agency, and can run independently to some degree with its own administration and reserve funds.

Sewer workers have been working to expand the pipeline at 76th Street and Lyndale Avenue, which is a major business district. Since state funding isn’t an issue, Lindgren said it’s a “great relief” for local businesses.

“Businesses are anxious to see this area buttoned up and allow the flow of traffic to return,” he said.

Aside from road projects, the Roseville-based Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC) said a state shutdown would halt the work of the Minnesota Board of Electricity, suspending state electrical inspections on construction projects in communities that don’t have their own in-house inspectors or that contract for such service.

“This would affect a large portion of BATC territory, where the state has jurisdiction over the administration and enforcement of the Minnesota Electrical Code,” BATC said in a recent blog post.

The BATC named dozens and dozens of cities that are designated as “State Authorities Having Jurisdiction” over electrical inspections, which will most definitely be interrupted by the state government shutdown. Richfield wasn’t included in this list.

Lastly, as per a court order deeming it to be a “critical service,” the Office of the Secretary of State will remain open during any state government shutdown. As such, this means all of its services will be available including Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) filings, the Central Notification System (CNS), apostilles and authentications, business services, election administration and the Safe at Home program.

Up-to-date information about the Office of the Secretary of State is available on line at www.sos.state.mn.us.

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