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ST. PAUL – The Minnesota House has approved the remaining spending bills needed to complete a new state budget for Fiscal Years 2016-17. The K-12 Education, environment and agriculture, and jobs and energy bills were all approved during a one-day special session on June 12.
"It's unfortunate that the governor vetoed these bills in the first place because the Legislature had reached a bipartisan compromise on them," Gunther said. "But the work is now complete, and Greater Minnesota stands to benefit, particularly in our jobs legislation."
Gunther said the jobs bill will help all of Minnesota grow and thrive by prioritizing private sector job and business growth, helping train skilled workers for vacant job openings, and finding them a place to live in the rural areas.
Because market-rate workforce housing is the spark needed to ignite economic prosperity in Greater Minnesota, the Legislature has provided $4 million to help jumpstart the market. $10.6 million will be used to expand broadband in the rural areas, which supports schools, hospitals and other businesses and is a key for future economic development and jobs. The legislation also addressed an immediate need by providing $800,000 to create a manufacturing extension service through MnSCU to train manufacturers for regional needs.
Finally, the bill includes a bill sponsored by Rep. Gunther that provides rural career counselors in Greater Minnesota, who will ensure that education and training investments meet the needs of community employers. $1 million was allocated for this purpose.
"We have jobs available locally but we also do not have qualified workers to fill the positions," Gunther said. "By the same token, we continue to hear from students who feel they need to move to the Metro Area in order to find a good paying job. This legislation will help reverse both of these trends and inevitably allow local workers to find employment closer to home."
Gunther said local schools will also benefit from the K-12 Education funding bill, as districts in Greater Minnesota schools are expected to see an average increase of $396 per pupil.
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