To the editor:
The economy is teetering on recession, the housing market still is in tough shape and our state is faced with the forecast of a billion-dollar budget deficit. Meantime, the majority party has introduced legislation that would cut programs designed to aid the economy in rural Minnesota.
Cuts in JOBZ, bioscience, Bovine TB and beyond are part of a tax bill that would harm Greater Minnesota instead of helping to stimulate the economy. According to the national Tax Foundation's 2008 State Business Tax Climate Index, Minnesota already ranks among the 10 worst states to grow jobs or start a business.
Eliminating programs like JOBZ would further hinder economic development and job growth in our communities. Fergus Falls alone has at least 10 businesses that have benefited from JOBZ program created by Gov. Pawlenty. JOBZ helped retain/create nearly 250 jobs in Fergus Falls. Overall, JOBZ has contributed to almost 17,000 jobs averaging more than $11 per hour through 327 deals across the state.
The elimination of JOBZ would mean fewer jobs, and a lost opportunity for our economy. It would have a particularly negative impact on the Fergus Falls area where extension of JOBZ could help us attract hundreds of new, good-paying jobs.
In addition, programs to create economic development through the growth of new bioscience businesses and organizations also are slashed in the proposal. This comes just after it was announced Fergus Falls will have land designated as a Bio Zone via a Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development program.
The job market needs all the help it can now, a time when our economy is on the brink of recession. Eliminating programs designed to increase employment or attract companies to the area is bound to push us further in an economic hole.
We should make sure people are able to make a living for themselves and their families instead of prompting an increase in unemployment and welfare applications.