Legislative session results in modest gains for child care initiatives

The final jobs, energy and commerce omnibus bill that Minnesota Legislature passed on May 25, and which Gov. Walz signed into law today, includes two separate appropriations targeted at addressing the child care crisis in Minnesota, with a particular emphasis on Greater Minnesota.

The bill includes a one-time appropriation of $750,000 to be divided between the Minnesota Initiative Foundations to support their efforts to build capacity with child care providers and in our communities. The bill also appropriates an additional $750,000 to the existing DEED child care grant program, of which at least $450,000 will go out to Greater Minnesota, for additional provider support.

Unfortunately, with no bonding bill this year, a GMNP proposal to give much-needed capital to Greater Minnesota communities to expand child care facilities did not move forward

Notes from the Capitol – Update on the legislative session

Below is a legislative update from GMNP Executive Director Dan Dorman:

It’s been an interesting few days at the Capitol. While the “regular” legislative session ended at midnight on Monday, by last Friday it had already become clear that there would need to be a special session in order for the Legislature to complete its work. Given the frequency of them in the last 20 years, perhaps they should change the name to a “not-so-special special session.”

Late last week the Minnesota Senate put in motion bills that would have provided base funding to avoid a state government shutdown, but most people saw this as something for the end of June (the state budget begins July 1st so that is when a shutdown would occur). At the time it seemed like the Senate was signaling that budget negotiations between Governor Walz, Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka were hopelessly stalled.

However, Sunday afternoon brought the surprising word that a budget agreement had been reached. This news brought a jolt of optimism to the Capitol. There was talk of openness and groups working in public to fashion the final details of the various budget bills. Conference committees were given budget targets and the hope was that many, if not all, of them would be able to wrap up either before midnight Monday or in a one-day special session later this week. Continue reading

MMB releases bonding instructions

Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) has released its capital budget instructions, outlining the process by which local governments and state agencies submit capital budget requests to be considered for inclusion in the Governor’s next bonding proposal. This is the first step in the agency’s capital budget process, which will conclude with submission of the Governor’s 2020 bonding proposal to the Legislature next January.

If your local government has a bonding request, it must submit its project to MMB by June 14, 2019 in order to be considered for the Governor’s proposal. Submitting a project through this process may also help secure your community a stop on the House and Senate’s traditional bonding tour, which typically takes place in the summer and fall.

You can find all of the relevant documents HERE.

ACTION ALERT – Urge state lawmakers to pass child care legislation this year!

With just days left until the Legislature’s May 20 deadline, it is vital that Greater Minnesota business and community leaders speak up about the dire need for more child care options in Greater Minnesota.

The GMNP is advocating for two important child care initiatives that are currently making their way through the legislative process, but we need your help to urge the Legislature to pass them this year.

Take Action — Lawmakers need to hear from YOU!

It is critical that GMNP members and affiliates contact Governor Tim Walz, House Speaker Melissa Hortman, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and your legislators TODAY. Urge them to:

  • Pass a bonding bill that contains $10 million for grants to help build or expand child care facilities in Greater Minnesota.
  • Pass a jobs bill that contains $2 million to be distributed between the six Minnesota Initiative Foundations (MIFs) for child care business development and provider training. These grants will help stabilize provider loss and start to build much-needed capacity.

Continue reading

Report: Greater Minnesota’s share of workforce development funding is dwindling

The Center for Rural Policy and Development (CRPD) recently published the final report in a three-part series exploring the impact the tight labor market has on Greater Minnesota. The analysis examines a growing divergence in the amount of workforce development funding going to organizations in the seven-county metro compared to Greater Minnesota.

In their analysis CRPD examines three major sources of workforce development funding:

  • Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) dollars, which are distributed through a formula to local workforce development boards across the state.
  • The Minnesota Jobs Skills Partnership (MJSP), which is a competitive grant program that has an oversight board and various statutory requirements for how to disburse funds.
  • The State Adult workforce fund which is a catch-all that includes a variety of workforce development programs.

The WIOA and MJSP programs are focused primarily on workers that have been laid off, and as the labor market has continued to improve in recent years money has been shifted to the State Adult programs. CRPD’s analysis shows this shift has left Greater Minnesota with a smaller share of these dollars. Data from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) show that in 2014 roughly 47 percent of workforce training funds went to Greater Minnesota, but in 2018 that had fallen to 36 percent. Continue reading

GMNP welcomes four new board members

The Greater Minnesota Partnership is proud to welcome four new members to its Board of Directors:

  • Bruce Imholte – A member of the Detroit Lakes City Council and owner of Imholte & Dahl CPAs, an accounting firm with offices in Detroit Lakes and Fargo, N.D.
  • Scott Marquardt – Vice president of the Southwest Initiative foundation
  • Tara Onken – Economic development director for the Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Dave Smiglewski – Mayor of Granite Falls and past president of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities

The new members were elected by the Board of Directors at its meeting on April 17. In addition, the board elected Austin City Administrator Craig Clark to serve as the GMNP’s treasurer.

Join us May 8 for a ‘final push’ lobby day and ice cream social!

As has become a tradition in recent years, our sister organization the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities is once again holding an End-of-Session Lobby Day & Ice Cream Social on Wednesday, May 8. All GMNP members are invited to attend to meet with legislators and help make a final push for our top legislative priorities such as child care, transportation and infrastructure.

The event is FREE to attend, but we ask that you register by sending an email to Meghan at RSVP@flaherty-hood.com (please include your name, organization/city and position/title).

We hope to get as many Greater Minnesota community leaders to attend as possible! Please share this Lobby Day Flyer and encourage other city officials and staff to join us.

If you have any questions, contact Julie Liew at jlliew@flaherty-hood.com.

We need your help! Tell lawmakers how the child care shortage impacts your community

This legislative session, the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities and the Greater Minnesota Partnership have teamed up to explore ways to address the child care shortage in Greater Minnesota.

The child care crisis is a multi-faceted problem with no easy solution, but we strongly believe there are actions the Legislature and Governor can take to help address this issue. This session, our organizations are advocating for two bills that would appropriate a total of $13 million in state funding with the goal of increasing child care capacity in Greater Minnesota. You can read more about the bills in our handout: The Child Care Conundrum.

As the bills make their way through the legislative process, it has become apparent that some legislators do not have a clear understanding of the full scale of this issue and its impact on Greater Minnesota communities. Some metro-area legislators have even told us that they “just aren’t hearing very much” about the problem, at least not as it pertains to economic development in Greater Minnesota.

We know that the child care shortage is indeed a big problem in Greater Minnesota. You have told us about the businesses that won’t expand because there are too few child care providers in your area or the families who opted not to relocate to your city because there is no one to watch the kids while the parents are at work. We need you to share those same stories with our lawmakers. Continue reading

Child care discussions continue at committee hearings

There has been a lot of activity on the child care front in the past week. On March 1, the House Early Childhood Committee and the Jobs Committee held a joint hearing in St. Cloud. The purpose of the hearing was to highlight the economic and employment impacts of the child care crisis. The challenge in Greater Minnesota was highlighted by two testifiers: Carol Anderson, executive director of the Community Development Morrison County, and Jason Polovick, administrator at Todd County Care Center.

On Tuesday, our two child care bills were heard in the House Jobs and Workforce Development Committee. Rep. Jeff Brand (DFL-St. Peter) presented HF 422 and HF 423 and explained how the city of St. Peter recently used efforts similar to those permitted in the bills to address St. Peter’s child care crisis and add a number of new child care slots. GMNP Executive Director Dan Dorman testified about the economic impact the child care crisis is having in Greater Minnesota, especially as it relates to attracting and growing employers and retaining workers. Dorman was joined in testifying by Scott Marquardt from the Southwest Initiative Foundation and Nancy Jost from the West Central Initiative Foundation. Continue reading

House committees to travel to St. Cloud for child care hearing

The House Early Childhood Finance & Policy and Jobs & Economic Development Finance committees are traveling to Greater Minnesota for a joint hearing on child care this Friday. The hearing will touch on topics such as child care careers, the provider shortage and how the lack of available child care impacts local businesses and the state’s economy. The hearing is open to the public. Here are the details:

Friday, March 1 — 1-2:30 p.m.
Great River Regional Library – St. Cloud
Mississippi Community Room 106
1300 W. St. Germain St.
St. Cloud, MN 56301