Join   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In
Community Search
Legislative Updates
Blog Home All Blogs
Search all posts for:   

 

DEED Economic Development Programs Funded in Bonding Bill

Posted By EDAM Staff, Monday, July 27, 2020

As we look ahead to a Third Special Session, we wanted to bring to your attention some of the infrastructure programs administered by the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) that are designed to facilitate business development in particular sectors or to address transportation infrastructure needs.

The prospects of a Third Special Session and agreement on a Bonding Bill continues to hinge on the resolution of the current conflict between the House Republicans and Governor Walz over the extension of the Governor’s Emergency Powers.  The substance of the Bonding Bill has been agreed to by House and Senate leadership and Governor Walz.  The House Republican Caucus is refusing to allow any of its members to vote for the Bonding Bill unless and until the Governor concedes from his powers and finds a more active role for the Legislature to play in responding to the Coronavirus pandemic.  

When this resolution is reached, the DEED programs that have been included in the Omnibus Bonding Bill include the following: 

We will be monitoring the actions of the Capital Investment Committees of the House and Senate to see whether any further changes are made to the Omnibus Bonding Bill – and whether any of those changes affect the funding for these DEED programs. 

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Legislative Update: May 19, 2020

Posted By EDAM Staff, Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The 2020 Legislative Session came to an unceremonious end on Sunday night with leaders in the House and Senate unable to reach agreement on a number of legislative priorities included a bonding bill, a bill to distribute federal coronavirus relief funds to local units of government, a tax bill, the ratification of state employment contracts, rental assistance, and additional state assistance for businesses. And while the lack of productivity to close out the Session was a disappointment, it might be more akin to pressing the pause button than giving up entirely.


In response to the coronavirus pandemic Governor Walz declared a peacetime emergency in early March to provide his office with more authority to respond. That authority has been extended on multiple occasions, but in order for an extension beyond June 12, the Legislature must act. And since the Legislature in now adjourned for the biennium, reauthorizing that peacetime emergency authority will require calling a Special Session. So because of the pandemic response and because of the way the Governor’s authority is structured, a Special Session was all but guaranteed even if the Legislature had been able to finish up their work during the regular Session. As a result some of the pressure to reach a final deal over the weekend was clearly lacking and resulted in the lackluster ending.


Work will continue on the legislative priorities discussed above, but we also expect workforce development issues to emerge as a focal point during special session(s) this summer and be a key focus next year as a newly elected Legislature tries to rebuild the state’s economy after the unprecedented economic fallout from the pandemic. EDAM has an opportunity to play a significant role in framing these discussions throughout the summer and into the next legislative session.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Legislative Update: May 11, 2020

Posted By EDAM Staff, Monday, May 11, 2020


The Minnesota Legislature is coming into the home stretch with the constitutionally mandated adjournment date looming on May 18. There remains much to be done in the final week with action packed agendas on both House and Senate floors. Negotiations continue on an omnibus bonding bill, an omnibus tax bill, and a bill to provide Legislative oversight to federal funds allocated to the state in the CARES Act.

House Democrats want a large bonding bill and unveiled their proposal on Monday. The $2.5 billion package is similar to Governor Walz’s bonding proposal and will be taken up on Tuesday in the House Ways and Means Committee. Senate Republicans have not yet released their own bonding package, but have been publicly discussing a much smaller bill closer to the $700 million range. Senate Republicans have linked their support for a bonding bill to the willingness of House Democrats to pass an omnibus tax bill.

How federal funds are allocated to local units of government is emerging as another key issue needing agreement before the end of Session. Republicans in the Senate have introduced a bill that would allocated $667 million to counties and cities based on a per capita formula, but Democrats in the House have not yet introduced a companion bill. If there is no legislative agreement, the money would be distributed by Minnesota Management and Budget with little to no Legislative oversight.


Governor Walz’s peacetime emergency authority is another sticking point to wrapping up legislative business for the year. The Governor’s initial peacetime emergency is set to expire on Wednesday, but he can extend his emergency powers for 30 days. After that 30 day extension, however, the Governor would need to get Legislative approval for any additional extensions. This sets up a potential special session showdown with Senate Republicans and Governor Walz on June 14, a scenario that looks more and more likely with each passing day.

We will continue to monitor legislative activity during the final week of the regularly scheduled session and stand ready to do the same for any special session(s) that may follow.


This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Legislative Update: May 5, 2020

Posted By EDAM Staff, Tuesday, May 5, 2020

The economic dislocations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are having dramatic consequences for businesses and government entities alike.  Governor Walz requested a somewhat more detailed budget and economic outlook for May as a basis for any budget activity that may be forthcoming from the 2020 Legislative Session. 


The report from Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) presents a significant challenge for the state. The projected surplus of $1.5 billion has vanished – replaced by a deficit of $2.426 billion. The state budget reserve, or Rainy Day Fund, is available to fill gaps created by the reduction of business activity and corresponding loss of revenue. 


Probably the most significant statement in the May budget outlook is provided in the final sentence of the single paragraph which MMB used to transmit the budget and economic outlook: “Given the uncertainty about the path of the pandemic, the economic outlook will remain volatile for some time.”


The new budget update will be the basis on which end of session negotiations are conducted. House Republicans have drawn a line in the sand stating that they will not work to pass a bonding bill until the Governor ends the peace time emergency. With less than two weeks before the Legislature is set to adjourn we expect negotiations on bonding, the state budget, allocation of federal emergency funds, and the extension of the peace time emergency to be the main focus of the Legislature.



This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Legislative Update: April 27

Posted By EDAM Staff, Monday, April 27, 2020

The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn on May 18 – leaving just three weeks for the House and Senate to complete their business.  The focus on the state response to the COVID-19 pandemic has derailed a significant majority of legislative proposals that were thought to be on track for action in the 2020 Session.


When the Session began, there was much discussion about a Supplement Appropriations Bill which might increase funding across the state budget – including at the Department of Employment and Economic Development.   Once the pandemic struck and the state response required closure of a significant number of businesses, the forecast of a state revenue surplus was suddenly and dramatically replaced by concern over the depth of a revenue shortfall. 


Some areas where there is still expected to be action include the following:


BORDER-TO-BORDER BROADBAND

The disparity in broadband service across the state has had a bright light focused on it as schools have closed and school districts were left to implement learn-at-home practices. All across the state, school districts have struggled to provide and parents have struggled to access their daily lessons.  There have been a significant number of stories about families who have had to drive into their community to find a “hot spot” in order for their children to do their homework.  


Both the House and Senate are working on legislation which would provide some additional funding to build-out our broadband capacity in unserved areas.  As the Legislative committees were considering the issue going into this week, the funding level which is being discussed for the Border-to-Border Broadband Program is $20 million of additional funding.  

ANGEL INVESTMENT TAX CREDIT

The Senate Tax Committee is considering legislation which would provide some tax relief to mitigate the financial problems that businesses across the state are experiencing as a result of the “Stay at Home” Order.   One response that has been of interest to the economic development community is funding for the Angel Investment Tax Credit.   The Senate Bill specifically extends this tax credit for new, technology-driven businesses as a counter-cyclical mechanism – creating additional jobs in a struggling economy. 


EXTENSION OF STAY AT HOME ORDER

Key for the Governor and Legislature in dealing with the pandemic is the decision whether to extend the “Stay at Home” Order which is now scheduled to terminate at midnight on May 3.   Governor Walz has already opened the door to additional businesses reopening once they have prepared and submitted plans for social distancing and other considerations to help ensure the safety of their workers. It is estimated that between 80,000 and 100,000 Minnesotans will be back to work in the next few days as result of Governor Walz’s decision.  

The businesses that remain to be reopened are those that require face-to-face contact with customers – such as bars and restaurants.  

While there is considerable sympathy for these businesses, a question which remains is, even if the Governor would authorize these businesses to reopen, how long will it be before the general public is confident in their safety so that they would frequent these establishments?

We will continue monitoring House and Senate Committees and the Governor’s Executive Orders for those that would be of interest or concern to EDAM members.   We will provide a further update as issues develop at the State Capitol. 



This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Legislative Update: April 20, 2020

Posted By EDAM Staff, Monday, April 20, 2020

Last week marked the return to a more normal legislative schedule after an extended recess. Committees in both the House and Senate held remote hearings on both COVID response legislation as well as a limited number of non-COVID related bills. The bipartisan cooperation we have seen over the past month continues, but frays are starting to show. Senate Republicans, in particular, have started to move toward a message of “reopening Minnesota,” a theme during House and Senate Jobs Committee hearings last week.

 

The Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has been the on the frontlines of the economic fallout facing Minnesota’s businesses and employees as unemployment numbers continue to rise. DEED officials made appearances in both House and Senate Jobs committees last week to discuss the agency’s work during the peacetime emergency.

 

DEED Commissioner Grove appeared in front of the Senate Committee on Jobs and Economic Growth on Wednesday to discuss the unemployment situation and take questions from Senators. He discussed the unemployment data the state has (450,000 unemployment insurance claims), what DEED expects to see in the coming weeks (more of the same), and responded to numerous questions about how best to begin the process of reopening businesses currently unable to operate. Members had praise for the job DEED has been doing under difficult circumstances but wanted more guidance and certainty around the reopening of shuttered businesses.

 

On Thursday DEED officials testified in the House Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division on what kinds of workforce development issues may be facing the state when we do try to rebuild the economy after the pandemic. Officials discussed a shortage of funding in the state’s Dislocated Worker Program and highlighted DEED’s shift to online initiatives such as online group trainings and virtual career fairs. A great deal of uncertainty remains, including how many workers will have a job to return to after the peacetime emergency ends.

 

The DEED focus continues this week, Monday the Senate Jobs committee had an informational hearing on S.F. 4480, a newly introduced bill from Senator Matthews that requires DEED to respond to a business’s reopening plans within 3 days of submission to DEED. There was some pushback from Democrats on the committee about the 3-day turnaround requirement and how difficult that will be for DEED. The bill does not yet have a House companion. We will continue to monitor this issue and all legislative activity as legislators try to close out session by the constitutionally mandated adjournment date of May 18.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Legislative Update: April 13

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 13, 2020

The Legislature is set to reconvene this week after a truncated and busy Easter/Passover recess. The Legislature normally takes the week leading up to Easter off and comes to finish the busiest part of the Legislative calendar after the break. This year, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the recess started a few weeks early with the goal of coming back on April 14th and returning to normal business. But things did not play out quite that way, instead the Legislature has reconvened multiple times in order to pass COVID-19 related legislation and a return to business as usual is nowhere in sight.


The Legislature will still return on April 14th, but it will continue to practice social distancing and utilize remote hearings as much as possible. The remainder of the legislative session will focus on continuing to respond to the health and economic impacts of the pandemic, assembling a bonding bill, and passing legislation that has broad bipartisan support. This narrows the focus of Session and all but closes the door on supplemental spending in any areas outside of COVID-19 response.


The amount of damage the last couple of weeks have had on the state’s fiscal health remains unknown, but the state will get some insight into that question by producing an updated budget projection in May. This is not a full blown economic forecast but would give lawmakers a look at a more accurate fiscal picture than the now extremely outdated February Forecast. State economists are trying to produce this update working with very volatile and incomplete data, but the initial projections indicate the state is likely to be looking at a deficit in the next budget year.


This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Legislative Update: April 6

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 6, 2020

Another unprecedented week of action at the Minnesota Legislature as social distancing requirements forced legislators to adapt to new working realities. The House Rules and Legislative Administration Committee had the Legislature’s first ever remote hearing last week to learn more about remote hearings and how to utilize them while meeting in person remains problematic. The House has now scheduled several remote hearings for Committees to address COVID-19 related legislation. The Senate has also started working remotely having established a COVID-19 Response Working Group that had its first meeting on Friday.


The Legislature was scheduled to be on recess until April 14th, but over the weekend announced House and Senate Floor Sessions on Tuesday in order to pass a bill related to workers compensation for first responders. The bill will establish a presumption that if a first responder contracts COVID-19 that it was contracted on the job and will be covered by workers comp. This is an issue the Governor had requested the Legislature tackle to avoid having it addressed via executive order. After the Legislature acts on the workers compensation for first responders we expect them to once again adjourn until April 14th, although remote hearings will continue as scheduled.


As state and federal leaders continue to respond to slow the spread of Coronavirus, the economic impact preventative measure have had are coming into sharper focus. Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Myron Frans appeared (remotely) in front of the Senate COVID-19 Response Working Group on Monday to discuss the dramatic impact the virus response has had on Minnesota’s economic outlook. While hard numbers are still premature, the steep drop off in sales tax receipts will sharply alter the state’s financial footing. Commissioner Frans indicated the MMB will undertake preparing a full economic forecast earlier than normal in order to provide some clarity as to just how bad things will get. Preliminary modeling indicates the state could be looking at a sizable deficit when we get to fiscal year 2021, a far cry from the projected $1.5 billion surplus we had after the last forecast in February.


This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Legislative Update: March 30

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 30, 2020
Another strange and unsettling week in Minnesota as Governor Walz’s two week “Stay at Home” order officially took effect on Friday, March 27th. We are all adjusting our work and personal lives, and the same is true for the Minnesota Legislature.

On Thursday both the House and Senate held floor sessions to take action on a new COVID-19 response bill. The Legislature took great pains to adhere to social distancing recommendations with the Senate allowing members to vote by proxy and the House spreading members all throughout the House gallery and the Capitol hallways. After fairly limited debate both bodies passed the $330 million package with overwhelming bipartisan support. The bill establishes a temporary $200 million COVID-19 Minnesota fund and appropriates additional money to issue drivers’ license and identification cards, award child care grants, provide financial assistance to military veterans or their surviving spouses, distribute additional funding to food banks and food shelves, increase housing support payment rates, and provide services and shelter to the homeless.

After passing the COVID response bill, both the House and Senate adjourned until April 14th, although not before adopting new rules that would allow the Legislature to meet remotely to take up any other emergency measures that may be needed before their scheduled return. At this time it remains the stated goal of the Legislature to remain in recess until April 14th and then come back and finish the session by taking up a bonding bill and potential supplemental budget matters along with whatever additional COVID-19 response measures are needed.

We will continue to track the Legislature during this fluid and uncertain time.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Legislative Update: March 23

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 23, 2020

Life in Minnesota has changed dramatically over the past week as the coronavirus continues to spread across the country and the world. The Legislature has remained on recess, but Executive Orders from Governor Walz have been coming on a near daily basis.

Over the weekend Governor Walz signed executive order 20-13 that activates the Minnesota National Guard for assistance with the coronavirus pandemic during the peacetime emergency. The National Guard's first mission is to move personal protective equipment from Camp Ripley in Little Falls to the Minnesota Department of Health warehouse in St. Paul where they can then be moved to the health care workers in need. Governor Walz also suggested that the National Guard could eventually be used to help deliver food if that service becomes necessary in Minnesota.


On Monday Governor Walz issued another 4 executive orders. The orders suspend evictions during the peacetime emergency, establish Peacetime Emergency loans for small businesses, direct non-hospital entities to conduct an inventory of personal protective equipment, and clarify that the previous Executive Order on elective surgeries does apply to veterinarians. There has been a lot of talk about the potential for a “shelter in place” order as similar announcements have been made in neighboring states, but that announcement has not yet been made as of this writing (Monday).


There have also been rumors of the Legislature coming back into Session before the end of the scheduled recess, currently targeted for April 14th. Nothing has yet been scheduled, but we will continue to monitor the Legislature and report on any changes to the schedule.


Stay safe, stay sane.



This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 
Page 1 of 7
1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7
Membership Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal