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HOUSE PASSES DFL JOBS BILL

ST. PAUL, MN – Last night the House of Representatives passes the Jobs and Economic Development Omnibus bill on a vote of 73 to 59. The bill will invest in job creation across the state and it includes a huge tax cut for Minnesota businesses. Rep. John Persell (DFL – Bemidji) is glad to see the state focused on jobs.

“Minnesota needs to help create jobs for working families across our district,” said Rep. Persell. “This bill will help local communities bring in new businesses that can offer those jobs.”

After a decade of disinvestment in economic development, the Minnesota legislature is poised to invest almost $100 million in economic development – a near $60 million increase. The new resources will focus on proven job-creating programs such as $30 million included for the Minnesota Investment Fund, the state’s leading job creation tool. The purpose of MIF is to provide financial incentives to out-of-state companies that are thinking of locating to Minnesota and to in-state companies that are thinking of expanding within the State. DEED estimates that in the last eight years, it has funded 53 projects through MIF and has leveraged over $587 million in private investment.

Along with providing incentives to spark job creation, the Jobs Bill includes a huge tax cut for small businesses. By reducing the rate that employers pay on unemployment insurance taxes, employers will save almost $350 million over the next two years. The average MN employer will save $150 per employee. According to non-partisan House Research, it could be the biggest business tax cut in state history.

“This provision will be a real boost for mom-and-pop small businesses throughout the state,” said Rep. Tim Mahoney, Chair of the Jobs Economic Development Finance and Policy Committee.

After its near elimination under Republican leadership in 2011, the Minnesota Trade Office will be allocated $4.6 million to help create business relationships that strengthen Minnesota’s economic output. The Minnesota Trade Office currently has an office only in China, but these new funds will allow for three new locations to build business relationships across the globe.

Also in the bil is a 1.5% solar energy standard set for 2020. The standard helps ensure that Minnesota transitions to more sustainable energy sources over the next decade. A key provision within the solar standard will exempt local coops and municipal energy organizations. Rep. Roger Erickson (DFL – Baudette) pushed for that provision.

“We know that sustainable energy is an important issue for Minnesota,” said Rep. Erickson. “But that 1.5% was going to be a significant burden for our local coops and municipals. This exemption will help those local providers stay competitive across the state.”

The Jobs Bill also includes:

• $24 million in funding for the Job Creation Fund. The JCF is a reformed and improved version of JOBZ that includes new accountability measures to help create jobs.

• Targeted funding for programs aimed at eliminating the skills gap, including: a new apprenticeship program for manufacturers and significantly increased funding for the Job Skills Partnership and FastTRAC.

• $22 million in new ongoing funds for housing programs, marking the first significant ongoing increase in over a decade.

• $11 million in additional appropriations to Explore Minnesota Tourism to encourage economic activity across the state.

• $700,000 for the Office of Broadband Development to increase access to high-speed internet for all Minnesotans

The Jobs bill will now be sent to the Senate for final passage. Once the Senate passes the bill it will head to the Governor for his signature.

 

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