Is reality too regressive for St. Paul? – Twin Cities

RESULTS: CLOSED BUSINESSES

Congratulations to our proudly, if imprudently, progressive mayor and city council. In their latest ill-considered attempt to create a workers’ nirvana, the costly and onerously detailed sick-leave policy, our myopically impractical leaders are beginning to see the inevitable results of their folly: closed businesses, lost jobs, reduced hours. Surely this is not what they had expected — but they should have! The Aug. 7 story highlighting the demise of Cooper’s Highland Park grocery store was a front-page example of the consequences we should continue to expect (“Highland Park grocer’s closing a big hit to neighborhood”).

Prominent among the pressures cited by owner Gary Cooper was the mandated sick-leave policy. He also mentioned the city’s plans to ban the sale of menthol tobacco, a move that will cut sharply into the trade of many smaller businesses. Yet to come is the inevitable minimum-wage hike to $15, which will ratchet up the pressure exponentially — unless somebody will be printing money in the basement of City Hall and delivering it to the beleaguered businesses.

Check the recent University of Washington study of how this has been playing out in Seattle, where workers are making less than they were before the mandated wage hike there. Not surprisingly, employers were forced to cut employees’ hours. They didn’t have the extra money in a big bag in a back room. Go figure!

Cooper confessed to feeling “underappreciated” by city leaders. His employees and the diverse customer base they have served clearly feel differently. They will miss the jobs and the convenience of finding both ordinary fare and the religiously/culturally required foods Cooper’s took care to stock for its customers.

It’s time for our policy makers to show our businesses a little appreciation.

They could start by simply accounting for basic economic realities and stop trying to impose their economic fancies upon the businesses that…

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