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Minnesota Legislature

Exempting 'green' companies

Published (2/20/2009)
By Sonja Hegman
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If your business is green, you could get a tax exemption starting in 2010.

GreenJOBZ, proposed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, is modeled after the original Job Opportunity Building Zones program that was created in 2003, which exempts qualified businesses from sales, income and property taxes.

Mark Lofthus, director of business and community development for the Department of Employment and Economic Development, said the main goal of GreenJOBZ is to retain companies that are producing a green manufacturing type of product, like wind turbine blades.

GreenJOBZ would target projects that are green/renewable-manufacturing related. The program would cost the state an estimated $3.65 million in the 2010-11 biennium and $6.6 million in the 2012-13 biennium.

GreenJOBZ is different from original JOBZ in that:

• it would be exclusively for companies that create renewable energy, represent manufacturing equipment or services used in renewable energy, or that create a product or service that lessens energy use or emissions;

• companies would receive benefits for 12 years for all agreements signed by the end of 2015; and

• projects could be anywhere in Minnesota.

The original JOBZ program was only for businesses in Greater Minnesota.

Lofthus told the House Taxes Committee Feb. 16 that projects will be considered as they come in, but it will be more selective than the original JOBZ program. Only five projects would be exempted in the first year of GreenJOBZ versus 110 projects during the first year of the current JOBZ program.

Renewable energy companies, like wind farms, could be included in the program, but Lofthus said analysis of that type of project has not been completed.

“We’ve looked less at the renewable wind side of that,” he said.

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