Walz and his commissioners have offered different explanations for new rules affecting restaurants and salons, part of the state’s latest effort to open the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Walz has not released a comprehensive plan for reviving business in Minnesota yet, a subject of growing frustration among some Republicans, but his administration has been working behind the scenes over the last week to build its strategy.
In an interview, Grove said DEED’s goal has been to tide businesses and workers over until federal relief can reach them.
DEED had more than double the amount of contract infractions DHS did. And the violations at both agencies mostly involved technical mistakes: No state money was actually spent before contracts were finalized or purchases were approved, say state officials.
Minnesota’s economic development agency requires partner nonprofits to report a lot of data, even as agency officials and legislators acknowledge the information isn’t critical for program evaluation.
The Legislature re-instituted an “angel” tax credit and created “Launch Minnesota” to nurture the state’s tech scene. Lawmakers also agreed to spend $40 million on a grant program to help build infrastructure for rural high-speed internet.
The nonprofit Public Record Media filed suit last year against Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development and regional economic development group Greater MSP to reveal details of the bid.
Grove, who once worked for YouTube and founded the Google News Lab, moved back to Minnesota from California last year before being picked to lead DEED.
As Hardy leaves DEED, the agency can boast about Minnesota’s record-low unemployment numbers and a overall robust economy. But that doesn’t paint a complete picture of the state’s workforce.
DFL Sen. John Hoffman authored a bill that made it far more likely that Ally People Solutions, where he works as the marketing director, would be awarded a state grant.
Hardy’s appointment comes at a time when the Governor and policymakers are increasingly emphasizing equity in conversations about the state’s economy.