Governor Dayton and DFL legislative leaders recently laid out a plan that involves smart, targeted strategies that will bring about new hiring and get tens of thousands of Minnesotans back to work. This new job growth plan focuses on things that have been proven to work: providing businesses with new incentives to create jobs, improving workforce development and training, and investing in Minnesota’s infrastructure.
By providing our small businesses with the capital they need to grow and keep good jobs, by improving our workforce development and training, and by investing in our infrastructure, we can help our citizens regain their economic security and quality of life. Key items include:
A New Jobs Tax Credit: This tax credit is to be focused on immediate job creation, providing businesses with a $3,000 tax credit for each unemployed Minnesotan, veteran or recent graduate hired in calendar year 2012, as well as a $1,500 credit for each new hire through June 2013. This will provide small businesses with the capital they need to grow, and puts more than 10,000 veterans, unemployed, or recently graduated Minnesotans back to work.
Infrastructure Investment: A new bonding bill will provide $775 million for projects that will bring long-term investment to our state, such as repair of roads, bridges and rail lines, college buildings, civic facilities and light rail. This bonding initiative will put nearly 22,000 Minnesotans back to work and give a much needed boost to our state’s construction industry.
Business Expansion “Minnesota Investment Fund”: $10 million in additional funding would be provided for the Minnesota Investment Fund, which has a proven track record of helping Minnesota to attract businesses to our state. Last year Governor Dayton was able to secure $3 million for this effort, bringing $46 million in private investment and 218 new jobs.
Expand the FastTRAC initiative: The FastTRAC program helps underprepared adults succeed by helping to match business needs with workforce development more efficiently. The goal is to serve 3,000 adults and establish 50 FastTRAC adult career pathways offered at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) campuses.
Minnesota Opportunity Grants: These grants will go to adults who pursue and complete short-term education and training at a MnSCU institution in regionally high-demand career fields. The goal is to provide a $2,000 grant for 2,000 Minnesotans for up to two semesters of training.
We will need to move quickly to pass this package of initiatives as early in the legislative session as possible. At a time when we have more than 175,000 Minnesotans out of work, we cannot ignore this opportunity to put thousands back to work by making good investments in our state.
On a local note, I will be working to pass our $2.1 million capital bonding request to renovate and reopen the Phillips Community Pool. With current low interest rates and competitive construction costs, bonding projects are an excellent way to generate jobs – and it is our strong hope that we can get this facility re-designed and operating so the children of South Minneapolis will have a place to swim.