A task force charged with finding ways to create jobs in Minnesota now has a list of possible legislative strategies.
The House Jobs Task Force unveiled a list of 41 “legislative options” to help create jobs in Minnesota. Nonpartisan research staff compiled the list from suggestions made by economists, business leaders and others during a series of task force hearings that began in September. (Watch the meeting.)
The list includes direct spending options like wage subsidies and loan guarantee programs as well as potential regulatory reforms and tax incentives. It also includes possible funding options – something nonpartisan House Research analyst Joel Michael said will be a key issue in putting together any kind of jobs package for the state.
“For the decision making by the task force, this fiscal cost element is a huge question, because we’ve got a very tight budget,” Michael said.
Among the various suggestions included in the list:
• provide more aid to local governments to prevent layoffs of local government employees;
• provide state support to Small Business Administration loan programs;
• streamline project and environmental permitting processes;
• make the capital equipment sales tax refund an up-front exemption; and
• adopt an angel investment tax credit similar to one used in Wisconsin.
Some task force members criticized the list for not providing enough information. Rep. Keith Downey (R-Edina) said it would be helpful to know how quickly each suggestion would work; he questioned whether many of the suggestions would make any impact in the short-term.
Other members acknowledged the difficulty of funding jobs initiatives at a time when the state is facing an estimated $1.2 billion biennial budget shortfall.
“We have some really tough challenges,” said Rep. Julie Bunn (DFL-Lake Elmo), adding that legislators might be “having to cut other areas in order to support new expenditures in this area.”