Legislature Returns - Omnibus Budget Bills Emerge

The Legislature has officially returned from Easter/Passover break and now faces a 6-week sprint to the end of Session. House and Senate Finance Committees have rolled out their omnibus budget bills and will spend the week walking through the bills, taking public testimony, debating and acting on amendments, and eventually passing the omnibus budget bills out of Committee and on to Finance/Ways and Means. After bills are passed off each chamber’s floor, Conference Committees will be named to iron out the differences between House and Senate versions, a particularly tricky task this year given the vast differences in approaches from the DFL controlled House and the GOP led Senate.

The Senate Jobs and Economic Growth omnibus budget bill maintains base funding of $8 million per year for the Job Creation Fund (JCF), but gives a slight one-time cut to the Minnesota Investment Fund (MIF) down from $12.37 million per year down to $11.231 million per year. And while the transfer authority allowing DEED to transfer funds from MIF to the Redevelopment Account is retained, there is no new base funding for the Redevelopment Account included in the bill.

The House Workforce and Business Development omnibus budget bill also retains the DEED transfer authority from MIF to Redevelopment, but again does not provide new base funding for the program. JCF receives a slight one-time haircut from $8 million per year down to $7.5 million while MIF takes a bigger one-time hit in the House version, down from $12.37 million per years to $7.5 million per year. Both programs base funding levels are returned to base ($8 million and $12.37 million) in the out years.

EDAM has expressed our disappointment in a lack of new funding for Redevelopment in these omnibus budget bills and will be participating in the public testimony portion of the discussions in the House and Senate. We have meetings scheduled with our bill authors and will speak with likely conferees to continue to push for Redevelopment funding. There will still be opportunities to amend and alter these bills as they work through the process and EDAM will continue to push at every opportunity to advocate for base funding for Redevelopment.