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The omnibus bill funds economic development, housing, and broadband programs that are important to cities.
(Published May 20, 2013)
The Senate passed the omnibus jobs and economic development bill late on May 16, sending the first of nine omnibus spending and tax bills to Gov. Dayton.
The bill passed 40-27 on a party-line vote. The House passed the bill one day earlier, with one Republican voting with the Democratic majority.
The bill provides substantial general fund dollars to a number of programs administered by the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) that cities have successfully used for years.
It also creates a new program, the Minnesota Job Creation Fund, which replaces the Job Opportunity Business Zones (JOBZ) program, set to expire in 2014. Unlike JOBZ, however, the Job Creation Fund applies to projects in both the metro and non-metro area. Funding highlights include:
The bill contains over $101.4 million in funding for various housing programs for the fiscal year (FY) 2014-2015 biennium. It includes $28.4 million for the Economic Development and Housing Challenge Program (pdf), a flexible housing funding source for cities.
The Challenge Program includes $10 million in one-time funding that would be targeted toward communities with low housing vacancy rates and job growth (read more about the program). This one-time funding targeted toward workforce housing was included in the governor’s original budget proposal and would be administered by Minnesota Housing, the state agency responsible for housing. Various cities were mentioned in hearings on the House floor as potential targets for the $10 million one-time funding, including Jackson, Worthington, Thief River Falls, and Roseau.
The bill places the Office of Broadband Development under the jurisdiction of DEED, and will be funded at $250,000 per year. The director of the office will be appointed by the governor. Other provisions in the bill support League policy for progressing toward the state’s broadband goals, including the “dig once” initiative and the establishment of the fiber collaboration database.
The Senate version of the bill was amended on the floor to include a provision that would prohibit the State Building Code from requiring the installation of fire sprinklers in residential homes.
The language was identical to language that was passed by the Legislature in 2011 and 2012. Gov. Dayton vetoed the bills both times, and the prohibition was not adopted by the conference committee and therefore, not included in the bill that now heads to the governor.
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Contact Patrick Hynes
(651) 281-1260 or (800) 925-1122
Contact Heather Cederholm
(651) 281-1256 or (800) 925-1122
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