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Minnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Paul Torkelson (R)

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Thursday, April 02, 2009
ST. PAUL – With 8% of Minnesotans currently unemployed, State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Watonwan County) said now is the time for the Legislature to create and continue to support policies like Job Opportunity Building Zones (JOBZ) that will entice employers to expand their companies in rural Minnesota. “I recently talked to one of the economic development directors in our district about job losses,” Torkelson said. “He said that three companies that were thinking of locating here instead chose to expand in Iowa, Texas, and the Dakotas due to more lucrative job expansion enticement packages from those states.” Torkelson said that with its high business tax rates, Minnesota tends to be at an economic disadvantage with neighboring states when trying to lure employers to relocate to Minnesota. He noted that the JOBZ program has been successful in helping bring new companies to southwestern Minnesota. But for the past three years, the Democrat chairwoman of the House Taxes Committee has voiced her displeasure with JOBZ and other business enticement programs, and has proposed to eliminate them. Torkelson thinks that would be a big mistake. “Job creation is the key to Minnesota’s economic recovery,” Torkelson said. “We need incentive programs like JOBZ in order to stay competitive with other states, and to encourage business owners to expand in Minnesota and give our residents more employment opportunities.”