H.F. 819 Heard in House Workforce and Business Development Finance and Policy Committee, First Deadline This Friday

H.F. 819 was heard in the House Workforce and Business Development Finance and Policy Committee last week and laid over for possible inclusion in the Committee’s omnibus bill. The bill continues base funding levels for the Minnesota Investment Fund ($12.37 million per year) and the Job Creation Fund ($8 million per year) and establishes new base funding for the Redevelopment Grant and Demolition Loan Program ($8 million per year). EDAM worked with stakeholders to arrange testimony in support of the bill from economic development professionals from Fridley, Le Sueur, and Worthington to highlight the role these key DEED programs have played in redevelopment projects across the state. EDAM is working with the Senate Jobs Committee to schedule a hearing on the Senate companion bill later this month.

Earlier this week EDAM’s lobbyists met with Charles Sutton, Policy Advisor for Governor Walz. The goal of the meeting was to make sure that the Governor’s office was aware of the EDAM effort to include base level funding for the Job Creation Fund, the Minnesota Investment Fund and establish new base funding for the Redevelopment Account.  Mr. Sutton was grateful for the information provided.  He noted that the Governor was not able to include the levels of funding that we are seeking in his initial budget which was based on the November Forecast.  He suggested that the most recent forecast will provide some opportunities for reconsidering funding levels – although the Governor has not yet released his supplemental budget recommendations that reflect that new budget update.

This Friday (March 12th) is the first committee deadline at the Legislature. Bills have to have received a committee hearing in either House or Senate by Friday to remain in play for the 2021 Session. The second deadline is the following Friday (March 19th) when bills have to be heard in the other body. H.F. 819 has met first deadline in the House, we will work to make second deadline in the Senate on the companion bill, S.F. 585, and then shift our focus to ensuring favorable funding levels for our key DEED programs in the Jobs Committees omnibus bills.