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Minnesota mayors: Legislature should restore funding for proven job-creation tools

MinnPost photo by Briana Bierschbach
The Minnesota Legislature chose to cut funding for the Minnesota Investment fund by 66 percent and the Job Creation Fund by 90 percent in the recent 2016 session.

Just last month, Smiths Medical opened its new $23 million global headquarters in Plymouth, Minnesota. Along with moving more than 400 current employees to the new location, Smiths Medical created 162 additional jobs with an average wage of nearly $45 an hour (approximately $90,000 a year). To help make the move and expansion happen, the State of Minnesota provided the company a total of $1.8 million in financing from the Minnesota Investment Fund and Job Creation Fund. This modest assistance generated a nearly 13-to-1 return on investment in addition to the ongoing benefit of 162 new jobs in the west metro.

This experience is not unique. In 2015 alone, Minnesota Investment Fund loans resulted in more than 1,700 jobs and attracted $1.4 billion in private capital to communities across the state. Similarly, the Job Creation Fund leveraged $28 million in state funding to generate $596 million in private investments from last year.

And the investment is felt statewide with approximately 50 percent of projects located in Greater Minnesota. In recent years, these funds supported the creation of 160 new jobs at Jostens in Owatonna, 100 new jobs at Axis Clinicals in Dilworth, 150 new jobs at Cirrus Aircraft in Duluth, 143 new jobs at FAST Manufacturing in Windom, 100 new jobs at Sil-Pro in Delano, 40 new jobs at Snobear in Isanti and 330 new jobs at Comcast in St. Paul. These projects show how the Minnesota Investment Fund and Job Creation Fund strengthen our communities and working families.

Drastic funding cuts

Despite the positive track record of these programs and having received national recognition for excellence in capital access from the Council on Development Finance Agencies, the Minnesota Legislature chose to cut funding for the Minnesota Investment fund by 66 percent and the Job Creation Fund by 90 percent in the recent 2016 Session.

We urge the Legislature to restore these cuts if a special session is called by Gov. Mark Dayton. These cuts jeopardize the ability of Minnesota communities to attract and retain growing businesses and good jobs in the coming years.

The Legislature’s decision to cut the Minnesota Investment Fund and Job Creation Fund makes even less sense considering the state’s $900 million budget surplus. These relatively modest incentive programs deliver a more than 20-to-1 return on investment, annually generate over $1 billion in private investment, and support the creation of thousands of good jobs.

These benefits suggest the programs more than pay for themselves. With a budget surplus, there should be little reason to cut funding for the Minnesota Investment Fund and Job Creation Fund.

When the next Shutterfly, Anderson Windows, Arctic Cat, Hearth and Home Technologies, Talon Innovation, or Toro Company is weighing whether to expand or add jobs here or somewhere else, we need the Minnesota Investment Fund and Job Creation Fund to help balance the playing field. Let’s not put Minnesota communities at a disadvantage. The Legislature should restore funding for these proven job creation-programs during a special session.

Mayor Brad Gunderson, Sauk Rapids

Mayor Mary Hamann-Roland, Apple Valley

Mayor James Hovland, Edina

Mayor Emily Larson, Duluth

Mayor Matt Little, Lakeville

Mayor Eric Peterson, Wyoming

Mayor Kelli Slavik, Plymouth

Mayor Nora Slawik, Maplewood

Mayor Mark Steffenson, Maple Grove

Mayor Jessica Stockamp, Otsego

Mayor George Tourville, Inver Grove Heights

Mayor Paul Whitcomb, Princeton

Mayor Del Rae Williams, Moorhead

Mayor George Wimmer, Isanti

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 07/14/2016 - 12:18 pm.

    Business Socialism

    From what I hear, the government has no business helping it’s citizens, so it sue as heck better not help businesses. Also, I’m told that welfare harms the self esteem of those poor people who accept it, so i don’t want the same fate for business owners and managers. Imagine! The government telling these folks that they are not competent run their own operation without the government’s help!

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