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Nisswa: Resorter shares concerns

Mark Ronnei, Grand View Lodge, asked legislators to carefully consider a proposed minimum wage increase. While he supports an increase, Ronnei asked legislators to consider a tip credit (a credit against the business’ minimum wage obligation to the employee) and a 90-day wage that applies to 16- to 18-year-olds.

“I’m their first employer so we need a training wage for them. They don’t know what it means to work. They don’t get it,” Ronnei said, asking why young teens should be paid the same as employees with more experience who are more productive.

Ronnei said raising the minimum wage without adding a tip credit would result in fewer employees. Lost jobs would become an unintended consequence, he said.

Ronnei also passionately addressed education, asking legislators to take a stand against the state Department of Education, which he said focuses on test scores instead of true forms of education.

“Administrators in the system can’t stand up to the Department of Education. You are our only line of defense and you have to be more aggressive with this,” he said.

Jim Benson, also of Grand View, spoke against bills from trial lawyers trying to get rid of liability. That would halt tourists from bringing bikes, watercraft and snowmobiles to resorts, and would affect fishing guides, he said.

In response to a question about legislation regarding body grip traps to protect hunting dogs and people, Ruud and Ward said those bills are stuck right now and won’t get hearings until those on both sides of the issue get together and negotiate to break the logjam.