2021 Business Benchmarks: Taxes
Taxes: Improving, but headwinds remain
Lori Davies, President, Clow Stamping
Minnesota is known for the strength of its manufacturing. And no one embodies this more than those that manufacture parts for other manufacturers. Clow Stamping has done this for 50 years in Minnesota, sustaining a workforce and creating good-paying jobs in the Brainerd Lakes Area.
But they are not immune to challenges, especially that of high costs in the state. “When half your profit goes to paying taxes, that’s painful,” says Lori Davies, President of Clow Stamping. Cost of living continues to rise, along with the cost of raw materials and wage expectations on behalf of employees.
“It makes it difficult to be competitive,” continues Davies. “Everything we’re using in our business is more expensive year over year.”
Clow Stamping has been family-owned since their founding. They started as an eight-person shop in St. Louis Park, but grew into one of the top metal stamping and fabrication manufacturers in the state, now located in Merrifield.
The products may have changed in the last half-century, but the commitment to quality and providing an excellent employee experience have not. “It’s important to us that we are a family-owned business,” says Davies. “We like being in this area. The people here are good quality people. We have a phenomenal workforce and have no interest in moving, but we want to be able to provide for our employees and customers.”
After an initial drop in demand at the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Clow was deemed “essential” and has thrived ever since, just trying to keep up with demand from their transportation and agricultural clients. They hope to find the workforce to continue this success into the future.
Where does Minnesota rank?
Although Minnesota is not in the top 10 tax rates in every issue, strong headwinds to progress remain. The gas tax has improved to 30th in the nation, while the corporate income and state and local tax rates keep Minnesota among the highest in the nation. These high costs impede economic growth, and recruitment and retention of workers. According to a recent survey of business executives, while economic recovery tops their list of concerns, taxes aren’t far behind.