House Democrats present job growth legislation

by T.W. Budig
ECM Capitol reporter

lenczewskiHouse Democrats Friday, Jan. 29 presented legislation with the focus on job growth — ideas they say Republicans can support.

“We are working in the world of the doable,” said House Tax Committee Chairwoman Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington.

House Tax Committee Chairwoman Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington, and House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis, and other DFLers presented a portion of their jobs legislation Friday Jan. 29. Among the items House DFLers are pushing for are “angel” investment credits and a loosening of tax increment financing law to encourage development that near the jump-off point to take the final step. (Photo by T.W. Budig, ECM Capitol Reporter)

One provision provides greater flexibility to proposed Mall of America (MOA) expansion by allowing a previously authorized local tax to be used in either Phase I or II.

The proposed MOA tax provision contains no state money, said DFLers.

Previously authorized state revenue bonds could be used to finance either phase of construction, DFLers also propose.

1700 jobs over three years

Construction at MOA could create 1700 jobs a year for three years, it’s estimated.

Democrats also plan to split some $10 million gained by conforming to federal real estate tax law to fund an angel investment credit — a tax break for investing in smaller high tech, manufacturing, or “green” businesses — and a refundable tax credit for refurbishing a certificated historic structures.

They also propose the loosening or expansion of tax incremental financing (TIF) with the idea of providing the final impetus for development projects near the starting wire.

kurtzellars“We really want it to happen now,” said Lenczewski of the targeted projects.

House DFLers talk of quickly passing jobs legislation once the new session begins.

House Minority Leader Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, said if the DFL proposal reflects a belief in not raising taxes on business, that would be fantastic. Zellers expressly liked portions of the DFL package, questioned others. (Photo by T.W. Budig, ECM Capitol Reporter)

They argue that Republicans have been calling some provisions in their package, such as the angel investment credit, for years.

Three-pronged job creations approach

House DFLers speak of a three-pronged job creations approach including today’s proposal, bonding — “shovel ready” a term often heard for the desired bonding projects — and an economic development package.

House Minority Leader Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, said if DFLers are proposing not to increase the tax burden on business, the approach is fantastic.

Specifically on the proposed legislation, Zeller indicated support for the angel investment credit.

It’s a starting point, he said of the $5 million slated.

But Zellers questioned exactly how the TIF provisions would be applied.

Could they be used to build a Vikings stadium? he asked.

But Zellers did not reject any proposal outright.

 

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