Growing prosperity in greater minnesota

Legislative Session results in modest gains for GMNP priorities

The 2015 Legislative Session concluded Monday night with a last-minute rush to pass numerous bills before the midnight deadline. While several of the GMNP’s priorities were included in economic development and environment bills passed by both the House and Senate, others were left out due to the Legislature’s failure to pass a tax bill, bonding bill or a comprehensive transportation bill. We are still analyzing the final results of each of the bills, but here is a brief rundown of how the GMNP priorities fared this session:

  • Workforce Housing – The Legislature passed an expansion of the workforce housing pilot project and funded it at $2 million per year in FY2016 and FY2017. This grant program is not restricted to Greater Minnesota and gives preference to cities with fewer than 18,000 residents. Unfortunately, the GMNP’s proposal for tax credits to help spur workforce housing development did not pass because there was no tax bill.
  • Broadband – The economic development bill appropriated $10.838 million to the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program for FY2016. Continue reading

With few days left in session, resolution seems far away

The State Constitution requires that Minnesota’s 2015 legislative session end by the end of the day Monday. However, despite being only about 150 hours from this deadline, very little noticeable progress has been made on key issues such as taxes, transportation and health and human services. Gov. Dayton, Senate Majority Tom Bakk and Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt have been holding meetings, but it appears that all three are reluctant to compromise at this point.

As for the GMNP’s priorities, we are hopeful that an economic development bill will pass this year. Several of our top issues fall under this bill, including job training grants, broadband, workforce housing grants and the Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure (BDPI) grant program. While there is some divide between the House, Senate and Governor on these issues, there appears to be more room for compromise on this bill than some of the others. Continue reading