Minn. House panel considers boosting business fundby Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — A Minnesota House committee will hold a hearing next week on a bill to boost the funding for a key state economic development program.
The measure, which mirrors a proposal from DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, would provide $30 million over two years to the Minnesota Investment Fund to help relocating and expanding businesses that promise to create new jobs.
Loans under the program are forgivable if companies meet hiring and wage goals.
Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben of the Department of Employment and Economic Development said companies talk to many states to see what kind of financial incentives are available.
"We need these tools," she said, "to be able to have a seat at that negotiation table and be able to show the companies that Minnesota values their investment, values these new jobs and will be a partner to them in their future growth."
DFL Sen. David Tomassoni of Chisholm, who chairs the Senate Environment, Economic Development and Agriculture Finance Division, said he thinks it's a good investment to "put government money into job creation that grows the general fund by putting people to work and creating tax revenues that we didn't have before."
Tomassoni added: "Ultimately you're investing in the future of the state, and I think you're not robbing anybody to pay anybody. But you're doing something to create something, and that's what government should be doing."
Republican Senate Minority Leader David Hann of Eden Prairie said he doesn't know a lot about the proposal but said he thinks it can win some bipartisan support.
The House Jobs and Economic Development Finance and Policy committee has a hearing on the bill scheduled Tuesday. No hearings have been set for the Senate version of the bill.