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Bill includes $350 million tax cut for small businesses
ST. PAUL, MN – The House of Representatives passed a robust jobs bill tonight on a bipartisan vote of 75 to 57 that invests $46 million to help spur job creation throughout the state. The bill also includes a $350 million tax cut for Minnesota businesses. Last year, the Republican-led legislature sought a 50% cut to jobs and economic development. Rep. Tim Mahoney (DFL – St Paul), Chair of the Jobs & Economic Development Finance and Policy Committee, said he is happy to see the state reverse course and invest in job creation.
“These investments are going to move Minnesota in the right direction by putting people back to work,” said Rep. Mahoney. “One of our priorities this session is to create jobs and the Minnesota Investment Fund is a great example of how the public and private sector can work together to create jobs across our state.”
One of the largest single investments proposed is $20 million to the Minnesota Investment Fund (MIF) which helps companies bring quality jobs to the state delivering funds to Minnesota cities, which can then offer incentives for businesses to come to their area. It also brings $33 in private investment for every $1 it loans out.
Another significant investment will be over $18 million for the Minnesota Job Creation Fund. These dollars would be allocated to the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) which would then use the fund as a tool to help businesses make capital investments and create jobs in Minnesota.
The bill dramatically increases funding for the Trade Office, which exists to help Minnesota businesses increase their exports to foreign markets. The increased funding will allow the Trade Office to open offices in three additional markets (currently just one in China), and help Minnesota businesses learn how they can start selling to foreign markets.
The bill also attacks our “job skills gap” in a comprehensive manner, including a new apprentice program for manufacturers, significantly increased funding for the Job Skills Partnership and FastTRAC, and regular reports by DEED on the occupations that are in the highest demand.
“All of these programs will help create a healthy environment that makes it easier for private businesses to invest in Minnesota,” said Rep. Mahoney. “We want to make investments that leverage our public dollars in the most beneficial way. Some programs offer job training, others offer incentives for private businesses, but all of them are working towards the same goal of creative jobs and a healthy economy.”
In addition to funding job creation efforts, the bill includes a substantial tax cut for Minnesota employers. The bill reduces the rate that employers pay on unemployment insurance taxes, which will save them almost $350 million. The average Minnesota employer will save $150 per employee.
The bill also seeks to stabilize statewide housing issues by adding investments of $22 million in new ongoing funds for housing programs, the first significant ongoing increase in over a decade. It sets up a pilot program aimed at increased student achievement by increasing the housing stability of highly mobile K-12 students. The bill makes investments in the Department of Human Service to fund housing related programs; including $3 million for homeless youth services and $2 million for trafficked women and youth programs.
Perhaps the most crucial commerce provisions in the bill would add additional money for the Office of Broadband Development. Broadband internet access has been shown to be lacking in rural areas around the state, which can hinder economic development. These new investments will go towards helping rural areas get access to high speed internet that can help local businesses be more efficient and cost effective. Also included were funds for Explore Minnesota Tourism to help promote tourism destination across the state.
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