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Legislative Update: April 16, 2019

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Our reporting on the Jobs & Economic Development Omnibus Bills has not changed. The Senate has higher funding levels for MIF and JCF along with specific transfer authority to allow for use of unused MIF Funds for Redevelopment projects.

The Legislature began the Easter/Passover break last Friday – returning on Tuesday, April 23. The Jobs Bills are scheduled to be presented on the House and Senate floor upon their return.

Another item we have been tracking is the Angel Investment Tax Credit. The House Omnibus Tax Bill includes $10,00,000 to renew this business finance tool. The description in the House Tax Bill Summary is as follows:
“Allocates $10 million to the small business investment credit (aka “angel credit”) for tax years 2019 and 2020 and reduces the investment threshold for certain targeted businesses.”

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Legislative Update: April 8, 2019

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 8, 2019
Omnibus bills have been assembled and are beginning to make their way through the House and Senate finance committees. The House omnibus jobs bill was heard in the Ways and Means Committee this morning (Monday, April 8) and the Senate omnibus jobs bill is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Jobs committee today (Monday April, 8) and then be heard in Finance later this week.

On the House side, the Minnesota Investment Fund and Job Creation Fund are both funded at levels lower than those requested by EDAM and supported by a variety of other organizations interested in DEED program funding.

MIF and JCF were both funded at $5.5 million per year for each year of the 2020-2021 biennium. These numbers where then increased slightly up to $6.9 million for MIF and $6.77 for JCF during the markup of the House omnibus bill.  The request level had been $10.5 million per year for each of the programs for a total of $21 million per program.

Even more disappointing is the fact that the House spreadsheet does not indicate a line-item for the Redevelopment Fund.  This had been the lead talking point for meetings with key legislators and testimony before the House and Senate Jobs Finance Committees.  The lack of a specific line-item for redevelopment funding will limit the state and local response to redevelopment opportunities where buildings or worn-out infrastructure needs to be removed or replaced.  

Things are a little better on the Senate side, with Chair Pratt including MIF funding at $12.5 million per year and JCF funding at $8 million per year. The Senate bill also includes no funding for the Redevelopment fund, but does allow DEED to transfer money from the MIF account to the Redevelopment Fund.  

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Legislative Update: March 29, 2019

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 1, 2019
We have done our work and presented our arguments on economic development priorities and now we have to see what the Legislature will do on funding levels for the DEED programs for which we have advocated.

The biggest challenge we face is with the budget targets that are assigned to the Jobs and Economic Development Finance Committees in the House and Senate. The Committees were given their respective budget targets last week.

The House Jobs and Economic Development budget target for the 2020-2021 biennium is $333,820,000. That’s an increase of $83,785,000 above the base which was set following the February budget forecast.

This provides some room for inclusion of funds for DEED programs. EDAM had advocated for funding of $10.5 million in each year of the biennium for the MIF Program and $10.5 million in each year of the biennium for the JCF Program. We also specifically supported a legislative proposal to establish a
$6 million per year funding level for the Redevelopment Fund.

Things will be significantly tighter on the Senates side. The Senate Jobs and Economic Growth Committee has a target for 2020-2021 of $218 million. This is well below the House target which will prove very challenging for inclusion of all of the DEED funds for which requests have been made.

It appears that the House and Senate are going to be very different in their funding levels on almost all of the budget categories. The only areas of the Senate budget which show any increase over the current biennium are in the K-12 Education Budget, Higher Education and Health and Human Services. Virtually every other category of funding is either flat or a reduction in spending from the base budget.

Everyone is now expecting there to be dramatically different funding levels and Conference Committees are going to be particularly challenging. There is already talk of a Special Session and the prospect of a state government shutdown in July if the House and Senate can’t come to terms.

We will be closely monitoring the Jobs and Economic Growth Committees and the Conference Committee that is formed to resolve House and Senate differences. We will provide weekly updates on this process as it proceeds through April and into May.

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Legislative Update: March 25, 2019

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 25, 2019
This past Tuesday, March 19, the House Jobs and Economic Development Committee heard three bills which addressed funding levels for DEED programs. House File 1184, authored by Representative Erin Koegel (DFL-Spring Lake  Park), established funding in the amount of $6 million for each year of the biennium for the Redevelopment Account. House File 1185, authored by Zack Stephenson (DFL-Coon Rapids), established the funding level of $10.5 million for each year of the biennium for the Minnesota Investment Fund.  House File 1186, authored by Representative Anne Claflin (DFL-South St. Paul), would establish a funding level of $10.5 million for each year of the biennium for the Job Creation Fund.

Testimony was presented at the hearing in support of these bills by Charlie VanderAarde of Metro Cities. Bill King of CIRRUS Aircraft in Duluth testified in support of the Minnesota Investment Fund which provided a grant allowing CIRRUS to remain and grow in Minnesota. Deanna Kuennen, Community and Economic Development Director for the City of Faribault, spoke on behalf EDAM generally and focused more specifically on both the Minnesota Investment Fund and Job Creation Fund which Faribault has secured for business and job growth opportunities in their community. Monte Hilleman of the St. Paul Port Authority testified about the essential role that DEED’s Redevelopment Funds play in preparing land for new business development and job created where dilapidated buildings and outdated infrastructure once stood  

All of the bills were laid over for possible inclusion in the Omnibus Jobs and Economic Development Finance Bill.

We will be following-up with the Committee Chair and key Committee Members to request that funding on par with these request levels is included in the final House Bill.

Earlier this Session, the Senate Jobs and Economic Development Committee heard Senate File 1076 authored by Senator Paul Utke which proposed the same funding levels for each these programs – but did so in a single bill. We will also be following-up with the Senate Chairman Erik Pratt and key Committee Members to seek their support for the funding levels requested in Senator Utke’s bill.  

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Legislative Update: March 18, 2019

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 18, 2019
The Legislative session has shifted gears after last week’s committee deadline requiring policy bills be heard in their committee of origin. The focus will now change from moving bills through committee to setting budget targets. The majority of bills that made deadline have been laid over for possible inclusion in omnibus bills. Once budget targets are set and agreed to by leadership, committee chairs will begin to assemble their omnibus bills.

One of EDAM’s legislative priorities for 2019, the Angel Investment Tax Credit, had a hearing in the House Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division on Tuesday, March 12th. House File 1268  is authored by Representative Kotyza-Witthuhn and would reinstate the Angel Investment Tax Credit for up to $20 million per year. The bill faced some tough questioning from Chair Mahoney, who chief authored the authorization of the program when it originated.

Chair Mahoney is unhappy with the lack of geographic diversity with respect to the Angel Investment Tax Credit. He would like to see the program benefit more than the western Twin Cities suburbs, where much of the tech and health care businesses in the state are located. He has indicated he would support an amendment that would cap the amount of money that can be invested in the metro area and require investors to look to other areas of the state. The hearing was long and often heated, with Chair Mahoney expressing frustration with committee members and DEED staff for not addressing this issue to date.

The bill was laid over for possible inclusion, but there is clearly still work to be done before the chair is satisfied with the legislation.

Hearings are scheduled Tuesday, March 19th for House Files 1184 (Redevelopment), 1185 (JCF), and 1186 (MIF). EDAM will testify to the importance of these vital programs and hopes to have funding for all three included in the committee’s eventual omnibus bill. 

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Legislative Update: March 4, 2019

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 4, 2019

Economic Development Day at the Capitol

EDAM, along with partner organizations MAPCED, SBDC, Minnesota Brownfields, and Metro Cities organized and participated in Economic Development Day at the Capitol on Tuesday, February 26th. The event drew participants from around the state to get involved in the legislative process and advocate for the importance of local tools to address economic development and community revitalization with our elected officials.

Participants spent the morning listening to and asking questions of key legislators responsible for the economic development budget at the Capitol. Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove spoke to the group about his Agency’s mission, his budget priorities, and some of the challenges of transitioning from private industry to state government. Deputy Commissioner Kevin McKinnon then stood for questions and explained some of the challenges in seeking increased funding with split legislative control of the House and Senate.

Senator Paul Anderson (R – Plymouth) talked about the importance of reinstating the Angel Investment Tax Credit program, a priority shared in Governor Walz’s budget. He talked about the success of the program in the past and highlighted the importance of getting funding back into the budget in 2019.

Senator Eric Pratt (R – Prior Lake), chair of the Senate Jobs and Economic Development Growth Finance and Policy Committee, discussed budget priorities for the Senate Republican Caucus and how DEED funding bills will be treated in his committee. Senator Pratt thanked participants for their willingness to raise the profile of the DEED programs and to advocate for these important tools.

Senator Jeremy Miller (R – Winona), President of the Senate, talked about how priorities are established for the budget and what that means for the economic development funding requests this Session. He discussed how the priority typically placed on education and health care funding leaves less state dollars to be invested in other priority areas, such as economic development and housing. Senator Miller, who served as the Chair of the Senate Jobs and Economic Development Growth Finance and Policy Committee for the past two years, was named EDAM’s 2019 Elected Public Official of the Year and accepted his award during his appearance.

Representative Tim Mahoney (DFL – St. Paul), Chair of the House Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division, talked about the challenges of assembling a budget with divided government and shed light into how his committee will interact with Representative Gene Pelowski’s Greater Minnesota Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division. Chair Mahoney also discussed some potential issues he sees with the Angel Investment Tax Credit, specifically the limited geographical distribution of beneficiaries to the program.

At the conclusion of our morning program, participants attended individual meetings with their lawmakers to further advocate for economic development general and DEED program funding specifically.

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Legislative Update: February 19, 2019

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, February 19, 2019

EDAM Secures Authors for DEED Program Funding Requests – Prepares for Hearings

EDAM has been working with our partners, including the Association of Metropolitan Municipalities, to secure authors and seek hearings on legislative proposals to establish funding levels for a number of key programs administered by the DEED.  

On Monday, February 18, the Senate Jobs and Economic Growth Finance and Policy Committee heard Senator Paul Utke’s bill, Senate File 1076, which sets funding levels for the Minnesota Investment Fund, Job Creation Fund and Redevelopment Program. At the Senate Jobs Committee hearing, Sam Richie of the Fryberger law firm testified on behalf of EDAM in support of Senate File 1076.  

Senator Utke’s bill was co-authored by Senator John Jasinski, Senator Paul Anderson, Senator Rich Dreheim and Senator Paul Goggin.  

The bill seeks $10,500,000 in each year of the biennium for the Minnesota Investment Fund, $10,500,000 in each year of the biennium for the Job Creation Fund and $6,000,000 of the biennium for the Redevelopment Program.

A somewhat different approach was taken on the House side.  A separate bill was introduced establishing the funding level for each of the programs.  

House File 1185 was authored by Representative Anne Claflin (DFL-So. St. Paul).  This is the bill that sets the funding level at $10,500,000 for each year of the biennium for the Minnesota Job Creation Fund.  Representative Claflin’s bill was co-authored by Representative Bob Gunther, Representative Hodan Hassan, Representative Rob Ecklund, Representative Tim Mahoney, Representative Barb Haley, Representative Mike Sundin and Representative Robert Bierman.

House File 1184 was authored by Representative Erin Koegel (DFL-Spring Lake Park).  This is the bill which establishes a $6,000,000 funding level for the Redevelopment Grant and Demolition Loan Program.  This bill had essentially the same set of co-authors as Representative Claflin’s bill.  

House File 1186 was authored by Representative Zack Stephenson (DFL-Coon Rapids).  This is the bill which establishes a funding level of $10,500,000 in each year of the biennium for the Minnesota Investment Fund.  Again, the co-authors for Representative Stephenson’s bill were virtually the same as for the other two provisions.

With the Senate Committee hearing Senator Utke’s bill this week, we expect an early hearing on the House Files – perhaps even next week.   We will keep you informed of our progress on these issues. 

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Legislative Update: February 11, 2019

Posted By Administration, Monday, February 11, 2019
EDAM Works with Economic Development Partners on Legislation to Fund DEED Programs
EDAM is working with some of our economic development partners – in particular Metro Cities – to prepare legislation for introduction which would provide funding for the 2020-2021 biennium.  Three bills have been prepared in the House to target funding to particular programs.  One bill would provide $6 million each year of the biennium for the Redevelopment Grants and Demolition Loans Program.  The Chief Author of this bill will be Representative Erin Koegel (DFL-Spring Lake Park).  The co-authors on the bill are Representative Hodan Hassan (DFL-Minneapolis) and Representative Rob Ecklund (DFL-International Falls).  We will be finding additional co-authors for the measure in the coming days from both the DFL and Republican Caucuses.

A bill to provide $10.5 million in each year of the biennium for the Minnesota Investment Fund will be authored by Representative Zack Stephenson (DFL-Coon Rapids).   Again, Representative Hassan and Representative Ecklund will be co-authors and we will find additional co-authors before the bill’s introduction next week.   

The third bill on which we are working is to provide $10.5 million per year for the Job Creation Fund.  Representative Anne Claflin (DFL-South St. Paul) is the Chief Author of this bill.  Again, Representatives Hassan and Ecklund co-authored the bill and we will also seek additional co-authors for this measure.  

The approach on the Senate side will be somewhat different.  A bill is being prepared  which will include funding for all three of these programs in a single bill.  The Chief Author for the measure will be Senator Paul Utke (R-Park Rapids).  We will report to you when we know who the other co-authors will be on the bill.

As soon as the bills are formally introduced, we will be submitting hearing requests and lining up witnesses to testify on behalf of these funding levels.  We also hope to identify grants or loans that have been awarded in the legislative districts of members of the House and Senate Committees.  We will pursue this information as soon as we have the hearing requests in on the bills.  

Department of Employment and Economic Development Overview
One of the highlights of last week was the presentation by DEED Deputy Commissioner Kevin McKinnon to the House Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division regarding Department Programs.  

Deputy Commissioner McKinnon’s presentation described Business Assistance Programs, Minnesota Trade Office functions and Community Assistance Programs.  Of special note was the portion of the presentation focused on Community Finance Programs such as the Contaminated Clean-up Grant Program, Redevelopment Grant Program, Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure Grant Program and Transportation Economic Development Infrastructure Program.  

There was also considerable discussion relating to the Minnesota Investment Fund and Job Creation Fund.  

View Presentation

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Legislative Update: February 4, 2019

Posted By Administration, Monday, February 4, 2019

New DEED Commissioner Steve Grove officially took his post on Monday, January 28th. On Tuesday, January 29th he made his first appearance at the Legislature, testifying in Representative Mahoney’s Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division. Commissioner Grove introduced himself and his personal and professional background and then presented, along with DEED staff, an overview of the Agency’s mission and responsibilities.


Commissioner Grove told the committee about his career path that has led him to DEED. He taught English in Japan after college, came back to the United States and worked as a journalist at ABC News, then moved to the west coast and worked at YouTube during its early days before moving to Google. Commissioner Grove and his wife have young twin boys and thought Minnesota would be the best place to raise their family.


Commissioner Grove spoke of three top priorities he sees for his Agency. The first is the talent gap, where we are not seeing enough people seeking work for certain high skilled jobs. The second is income inequality. Commissioner Grove said that while we have a lot to be proud of in Minnesota, we should be embarrassed by our state’s economic data for people of color and that has to change. The final priority Commissioner Grove outlined was for the need to accelerate our innovation economy. This focus on technology and innovation makes sense given the Commissioner’s background, and he even told the Committee that his wife works for a venture capital firm that focuses on investing in technology companies outside of the coasts. He mentioned her employment in this field in relation to the Angel Income Tax Credit, a program he believes in and would like to see come back in Minnesota.

The Commissioner will be busy making the rounds through House and Senate committees in the coming weeks and we will keep you updated as DEED’s priorities continue to form.

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Legislative Update: February 4, 2019

Posted By Administration, Monday, February 4, 2019

New DEED Commissioner Steve Grove officially took his post on Monday, January 28th. On Tuesday, January 29th he made his first appearance at the Legislature, testifying in Representative Mahoney’s Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division. Commissioner Grove introduced himself and his personal and professional background and then presented, along with DEED staff, an overview of the Agency’s mission and responsibilities.


Commissioner Grove told the committee about his career path that has led him to DEED. He taught English in Japan after college, came back to the United States and worked as a journalist at ABC News, then moved to the west coast and worked at YouTube during its early days before moving to Google. Commissioner Grove and his wife have young twin boys and thought Minnesota would be the best place to raise their family.


Commissioner Grove spoke of three top priorities he sees for his Agency. The first is the talent gap, where we are not seeing enough people seeking work for certain high skilled jobs. The second is income inequality. Commissioner Grove said that while we have a lot to be proud of in Minnesota, we should be embarrassed by our state’s economic data for people of color and that has to change. The final priority Commissioner Grove outlined was for the need to accelerate our innovation economy. This focus on technology and innovation makes sense given the Commissioner’s background, and he even told the Committee that his wife works for a venture capital firm that focuses on investing in technology companies outside of the coasts. He mentioned her employment in this field in relation to the Angel Income Tax Credit, a program he believes in and would like to see come back in Minnesota.

The Commissioner will be busy making the rounds through House and Senate committees in the coming weeks and we will keep you updated as DEED’s priorities continue to form.

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