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Rep. Jay McNamar: State makes huge strides on jobs

ST. PAUL -- One of the things I heard about most when I spoke to people last fall was jobs. Minnesota is in a decent economic situation but we still need to be focused on jobs. This week, we made huge strides forward on that issue.

First, the House passed its jobs and economic development bill that will include a $46 million increase for job creation and businesses support. Several key portions of the bill are $20 million for the Minnesota Investment Fund to give grants and loans to local businesses that create jobs in local communities and $18.5 million for the Job Creation Fund to allow the Department of Employment and Economic Development to help encourage businesses to set up shop in Minnesota. Each of these will provide incentives for new jobs in rural communities and across the state. There are also numerous smaller provisions that will help with internships, apprenticeship programs, and job training programs. Each of them are designed to help find qualified workers for jobs that already exist or are likely to exist based on demand.  Jobs funding was cut severely in the last session and I’m pleased to be able to reinvest in jobs for our district.

Also on Monday, we introduced the Tax Omnibus Bill. The key provision I fought for was one that created Border City Economic Development Zones in several communities on Minnesota’s western border, two of which are Breckenridge and Ortonville. The funds allocated in this provision will help those communities offer tax incentives for local businesses and stay competitive. Communities such as these face unique challenges because they are so close to businesses that face entirely different set of rules and regulations just across the border.  These funds will help mitigate those unique challenges and keep those businesses competitive. I could not be happier to see this provision included in the tax bill.

Lastly, I did want to mention some fantastic news for all the cities in our district. As you may already know, Local Government Aid (LGA) was set to be increased by $60 million in our House budget. This was after the Governor had set his increase at $80 million. Several rural Minnesota representatives, including myself, decided to fight hard to get our LGA increase up to that $80 million mark. As a former mayor I know how much of an impact LGA can have on local property taxes and local budgets.  So I’m excited to say we now have an $80 million increase for LGA in our House budget. This should have a big impact on local property taxes and make it easier for our cities to plan out their budgets. After years of changes and cuts to the LGA system, it’s great to see increases for our local communities.