Dear editor,

I am a business owner and I understand the need to provide benefits for my employees to attract and retain them. Unfortunately, the Minnesota Legislature is trying to take this away from me and my employees.

There is a bill in the Minnesota House, HF 5, that would mandate 24 weeks of paid parental and family leave, and paid medical leave for all employees. How can a business survive if our employees are gone almost half a year? I want to provide good benefits to my employees, but this isn't the right way to do it and it's bad for Minnesota.

Our government is out of touch pushing this, but it's employers and their employees who will be paying the price. And it's a big price. They're talking $1 billion per year program funded by a payroll tax. It goes to pay 400 new full-time government employees and creates a new IT system.

With IT failures like MNLARS, I don't trust the state to use that $1 billion per year efficiently. And, it's just a matter of time before they come back asking for more.

Minnesota employers value their employees. It's a competitive market and good benefit plans are essential to recruit and attract workers. There are many sizes and types of business and this "one size fits all" leave program, crafted by individuals who have never run a business is wrong.

Urge your legislators and Gov. Walz to oppose HF 5. 

Barry Bergquist

Cloquet