SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Tonight, the Minnesota House passed a Jobs & Local Projects and Critical Economic Development bill with investments in infrastructure and economic stimulus to help communities bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation invests $1.879 billion toward public assets such as higher education institutions, clean water infrastructure, roads and bridges, parks, trails, and more. It also contains supplemental state budget appropriations and a few tax changes.
“Investing in our public infrastructure is a key responsibility of our state government. I’m pleased we were finally able to reach a resolution on this overdue capital investment bill,” said Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL – Rochester). “While we continue our response to COVID-19, the investments in this bill will create good-paying jobs at a time when too many Minnesotans are unemployed.”
In the Rochester area, the legislation funds projects including a new runway and other updates at Rochester International Airport, improvements to Cascade Park, and building repairs at RCTC. A full list of the projects included can be accessed here.
The legislation also includes a series of supplemental budget items, including funding for direct care and treatment programs at the Department of Human Services. In August, Rep. Liebling chaired a hearing of the House Health and Human Services Finance Division to examine the future of programming for people with mental illness, developmental disabilities, and chemical dependency. The bill also includes funding for a temporary pay increase for personal care attendants who serve people with disabilities, funding to allow the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to test backlogged sexual assault examination kits, and funding for the Minnesota Department of Corrections to keep the “boot camp” early release program running.
Finally, the bill makes changes to tax policies, including full section 179 conformity to the federal tax code aimed at helping businesses and farmers. It also contains a policy fix for short-term rental properties, flexibility for the Minnesota State High School League’s sales tax proceeds, and an expansion of the homestead property tax exclusion for the spouses of deceased disabled veterans.