Survey finds Minn. businesses more likely to retrench in first quarter

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A new survey suggests a trend toward optimism among Minnesota business owners has stalled, perhaps because of the November election results.

Twin Cities Business surveyed more than 15,000 Minnesota companies and found they were slightly more likely to shrink than grow. Some of the survey respondents indicated they were discouraged by Democratic gains in November and are bracing for higher taxes and more regulations. One-fourth of the business leaders expect the state's business climate to worsen during the first quarter. That's more than double the percentage of a year ago.

A Minnesota Chamber of Commerce executive told a Worthington audience last week that Gov. Mark Dayton's plan to add a new income tax tier for high earners would hurt the state's ability to compete with South Dakota and Iowa. The governor unveiled that plan, together with a host of other proposed tax changes, in Tuesday's budget address.

New skittishness among businesses runs contrary to some recent trends. Business creation in Minnesota has been on the upswing and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis recently issued an optimistic forecast for 2013 job growth in the state.

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