April 5, 2022
As the second deadline passed - requiring bills to be heard in the House and Senate - many committees have rolled out their omnibus bill packages. The House and Senate Jobs Committees have each released their different proposals and will look to have them passed before next week’s Easter/Passover break. EDAM’s proposed supplemental appropriation for the Redevelopment Grant Program at DEED for 2023 was included at $5 million in the House bill but, unfortunately, not the Senate’s. The House bill also provides for a slight increase for Redevelopment in the upcoming biennium as well.
While this presents a hurdle, it isn’t entirely unexpected. From the beginning, the Republican-controlled Senate has signaled they will be spending significantly less within their committees than the DFL-controlled House. This has been true of all of the omnibus bills released thus far. Complicating matters, it’s common practice for leaders from the Senate, House, and Governor’s office to negotiate joint targets – or amounts they will spend for each committee as they put together their omnibus bills. Unfortunately, leadership did not do that this year, which has resulted in Senate and House omnibus bills that are drastically different from one another.
The Senate’s Jobs bill appropriates no additional funding for DEED in the current biennium, but does include policy language extending the time period for MIF and JCF award recipients to meet capital investment, wage, or job creation goals before the grant must be repaid. The House Workforce bill appropriates over $186 million to DEED in fiscal year 2023 and also includes additional policy language. After each Chamber passes the omnibus bill off of their respective Floor’s, a conference committee will be named and they will begin meeting to iron out the extreme differences.
Unless joint budget targets are eventually agreed to by leadership, the gulf between the Senate and House omnibus bills (in all budget jurisdictions) may be difficult to bridge, but the Easter/Passover break may provide an opportunity for renewed negotiations. Either way, the conference committee process will provide an additional opportunity for member outreach on EDAM priorities. Please be prepared to reach out to your lawmakers in the coming weeks, especially if one of your local lawmakers is a conferee.