Legislature is acting quickly to bring jobs to Minnesota

By Kim Norton

Throughout this recession, unemployment in Rochester has consistently remained well below the state average. But that is little consolation for the nearly 3,700 Rochester residents out of work. Every Minnesotan, and every member of this community now struggling with the daily challenges of unemployment, deserves the Legislature's urgent and continued efforts to move this state closer to recovery — one job at a time.

That's exactly what we have been doing this session. Acting immediately in February, state lawmakers passed a jobs-focused bonding bill (HF2700) that will put thousands back to work in jobs that pay well; on projects that matter. By passing the bill early we were also able to take advantage of rock-bottom interest rates and lower than expected construction costs. Projects are already getting under way at lower-than-expected costs to taxpayers.

But a bonding bill alone isn't enough to address the very serious challenges facing Minnesota's economy. That's why we have continued our efforts to bring new jobs and industries to Minnesota — jobs that will stand the test of time, and sustain Minnesota families for years to come.

Central in that effort was a bipartisan economic development bill (HF2695) the Legislature passed several weeks ago, and the governor signed into law. The bill provides competitive incentives for small business growth and job creation in new and growing industries. It offers smart tax incentives to spur economic growth and create thousands of new jobs. In fact, it funds the following job-creating tax provisions:


• Angel Investor Tax Credit.This credit was a central component of the bipartisan small business

agenda I helped create as a member of the Small Business Caucus. It provides competitive incentives for private investors to support growing small businesses with needed capital. Specifically, it provides a 25 percent refundable credit for investments made in a qualifying business. In other words, it gives good ideas and promising small businesses the resources necessary to grow, hire, and succeed.

• Historic Rehabilitation Credit.Right now the federal government offers a 20 percent tax credit for investors who rehabilitate historic buildings. Many states sweeten that deal with their own tax credits. But until this session, Minnesota had no such credit.

Because of the second jobs bill, investments made to restore old buildings are eligible for another 20 percent state tax credit on top of the federal credit. That will get more private contractors back to work, make old buildings more energy efficient, and encourage continued use of historic spaces — rather than making it more cost-effective to bulldoze and build new.

Research and Development Credit. Additionally, we invested more in a smart tax incentive that has already proven it creates jobs and new businesses. Minnesota has a Research and Development Tax Credit that reimburses large corporations like 3M for money they spend on research and innovation to create new products. But small businesses aren't eligible. The Small Business Caucus I serve on wanted to change that, as did the small business leaders we spoke with. That's what we did in this bill. HF2695 also allows individual entrepreneurs to claim the credit on their personal income taxes.

These are just a few of the measures we have passed already this session to create jobs and make Minnesota an even better place to do business. Several other bills put forward by the Small Business Caucus, including one I authored to compare business climate and policies in

Minnesota and Wisconsin, will be considered in the weeks ahead.

We are turning the corner toward recovery. And the more we can do now to keep that momentum going, the better – that includes being careful not to negatively impact businesses. I'll continue doing everything I can to find bipartisan solutions to the real challenges facing working families and Minnesota's struggling economy.


But I need your help. Please continue contacting me with your questions, ideas, and concerns. Your input helps me represent you better. As always, I look forward to hearing from you.

Kim Norton, DFL-Rochester, represents Distirct 29B in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

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