Even though some business remained unfinished at the conclusion of the 2016 session, it is important to recognize that key work such as the economic aid package for the Mille Lacs Lake region did receive final approval by the Legislature.
The legislation includes two important provisions that will provide immediate aid to businesses in the Mille Lacs Lake region and strengthen the ability to frame Mille Lacs Lake as a premier outdoor recreation destination. Both provisions were part of a supplemental finance bill that area legislators and Gov. Mark Dayton's office developed. Pending the governor's approval, the area would see approximately $4 million in aid to bridge the current economic issue.
This legislation is very important to our area, we fought hard and got it done. While the Senate may have unraveled transportation and bonding at the last minute, this immediate aid for Mille Lacs was badly needed. It shows we can work on a bipartisan basis at the Capitol.
The package includes a $3.7 million in direct aid and loans that will be available to businesses around the lake that have been adversely impacted by the current issue with walleye regulations. Mille Lacs County will serve as the fiscal agent for the program with assistance from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
I am especially pleased that legislation I introduced providing $300,000 to the Mille Lacs Tourism Council was adopted in order to continue telling the story that Mille Lacs Lake offers a wide range of world-class recreational opportunities.
While others continue to complain about what did not get finished I am concentrating on urging the governor to call a special session in order to finish the work on bonding and transportation. In the meantime we got some good bipartisan work done and we need to talk about that. Look for more updates that address specific items that together my DFL and GOP colleagues accomplished this year.