Throughout this session’s capital investment debate there have been questions about the number of jobs that would be created.
Rep. Sarah Anderson (R-Plymouth) sponsors HF2909, which would require Minnesota Management & Budget to report each odd-numbered year on the number of jobs created or retained because of capital investment funding from the state.
“My goal is that we are more informed as legislators of what happens as a result of our actions,” Anderson told the House Capital Investment Finance Division March 9. “My intent with this bill is not to add an extra burden to state agencies … I view this as something they could include as a requirement from those vendors that we contract with. They’d have to provide that information on the front end.”
Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL-St. Paul), the division chairwoman, said Anderson’s bill is one of three heard by the division that could become part of a capital investment policy bill, should one be created.
Jeff Freeman, deputy director with the Public Facilities Authority, raised concerns with the plan, including that it can be “a very difficult task to come up with a process to generate reliable, consistent and meaningful jobs data when you’re looking at funding infrastructure projects.”
Rep. Tim Mahoney (DFL-St. Paul) gave an example of a public project where the contractor bid 1,500 hours to pull pipe down a mile-long tunnel. “By luck, the top was off the tunnel and they got to drop all the pipe in without dragging it. It took them about 150 hours vs. 1,500 hours,” he said.
A companion, SF2506, sponsored by Sen. Terri Bonoff (DFL-Minnetonka), was laid over March 10 by the Senate State Government Budget Division.
The other bills heard by the division were:
• HF2182, sponsored by Rep. Paul Gardner (DFL-Shoreview), which would require MMB to evaluate all capital project funding requests by developed criteria, and submit the evaluations with the commissioner’s capital budget requests to the Legislature; and
• HF3105, sponsored by Rep. Keith Downey (R-Edina), which would require each bond request to include a return on investment analysis, based on a format developed by MMB.
Neither has a Senate companion.
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