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State Representative Bob Gunther

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Posted: 2007-05-11 00:00:00
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NEWS RELEASE

GUNTHER: OMNIBUS JOBS BILL LACKS FAIRNESS


ST. PAUL – The Minnesota House and Senate will head back to the drawing board after Governor Pawlenty recently vetoed a jobs and economic development funding proposal that had been approved by both bodies. State Representative Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont) opposed the measure.

“The Governor vetoed the bill because he felt it spent too much,” said Gunther, the former Chair of the House Jobs and Economic Development Finance Committee. “It was $56 million more than he recommended, which is problematic when you don’t have an agreement on how much to spend for the entire state budget.”

Gunther, who was on the conference committee that helped shape the final compromise jobs proposal, said the bill lacked fairness, and needed a more equitable statewide distribution of economic development funding. He said this could have been accomplishment by sufficiently funding the Minnesota Investment Fund, which is the statewide economic development tool.

He also opposed the bill as it increases costs to employers, as the legislation would allow certain employees to collect unemployment while also receiving severance pay. This would have increased costs to employers by $10 million the first year and $7 million every year thereafter.

“We can do a better job of promoting jobs and economic development throughout Minnesota, and not just in the Metro Area,” Gunther said. “Hopefully, our next proposal will set some reasonable spending targets while focusing on the area that needs economic development assistance the most – rural Minnesota.”

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