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Minnesota Legislature

Internships for rural businesses

Published (2/24/2012)
By Bob Geiger
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Greater Minnesota businesses could establish ties with post-secondary students and get tax credits for hiring up to five interns annually.

Rep. King Banaian (R-St. Cloud) sponsors HF2210 that would create a Greater Minnesota Internship Program. The program calls for partnerships with the University of Minnesota, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and private colleges and universities.

The bill’s goal would be to help stop the retreat of young adults from Greater Minnesota to the Twin Cities metropolitan area, Banaian told the House Higher Education Policy and Finance Committee. The committee approved the bill Feb. 21 and forwarded it to the House Taxes Committee.

The bill could provide employers with a tax credit of up to $1,250 a year. Employers may receive credit for up to five interns each year.

The bill’s price tag is estimated to be $1.25 million annually plus an estimated administrative fee of 1 percent — or nearly $2.53 million during the two-year state budget period. If approved, the program would be administered by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education.

Banaian said that 70 percent of the students attending St. Cloud State University go on to work in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. “You’ve all seen the demography and what’s projected to happen in this state over the next 10 to 15 years,” he said.

His legislation could provide intern opportunities for juniors or seniors in college programs related to the employer’s business. The employer tax credit would equal

40 percent of the intern’s pay up to $1,250. Participating employers could not qualify for more than five interns in a taxable year.

A companion bill, SF1869, sponsored by Sen. Jeremy Miller (R-Winona), is scheduled for a Feb. 22 hearing in the Senate Committee on Higher Education.

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