Growing prosperity in greater minnesota

Senate committee shows support for BDPI legislation

BDPI hearing 3.2.15

Owatonna Mayor Tom Kuntz, bill author Sen. Vicki Jensen and CEDA Vice President Chris testify in support of BDPI legislation before a Senate committee.

SF 763 and SF 386 (both authored by Sen. Vicki Jensen, DFL-Owatonna), which would provide $20 million in funding for the Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure (BDPI) Grant Program, was heard Monday in the Senate Jobs, Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, where the bills were met with lot of support and passed on to their next committees.

GMNP Executive Director Dan Dorman and Sen. Jensen testified in support of the legislation along with Owatonna Mayor Tom Kuntz and Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA) Vice President Chris Giesen. Kuntz provided two examples of how the BDPI program was used to create jobs in Minnesota. He noted that both instances were business expansions that could have gone to another state, but by using BDPI and local funds the expansions were able to occur in Minnesota. Giesen spoke about how the BDPI program has been used for projects in multiple southeastern Minnesota cities and he discussed the need for some of the program changes proposed in the bills.

The bonding portion of the legislation has now been sent to the Capital Investment Committee, while the cash portion is going to the Environment, Economic Development and Agriculture Budget Division Committee.

Senate committee hears workforce housing, job training bills


Sen. Dan Sparks (DFL-Austin), KLN Recruiter Fred Sailer and Red Wing City Councilor Lisa Bayley share a laugh while testifying at a Senate hearing on the GMNP’s workforce housing legislation.

The GMNP’s bills on workforce housing (SF 764, authored by Sen. Dan Sparks, DFL-Austin) and job training (SF 526, authored by Sen. David Tomassoni, DFL-Chisholm) received their first Senate hearings in the Jobs, Agriculture and Rural Development Committee on Monday. You can read more about the hearing and the bills in this article from Forum Communications News Service.

The committee reacted favorably to both bills and legislators from both sides of the aisle seemed interested in getting something done on these issues this session. The bills have now been referred to their next committees.

We’d like to thank the individuals who attended the hearing and provided excellent testimony in support of the bills: Red Wing City Councilor Lisa Bayley, who testified on both bills; Perham City Manager Kelcey Klemm and Fred Sailer, a recruiter for KLN in Perham, who testified on the workforce housing bill; and Owatonna Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Jennifer Libby, who testified on the job training bill.