Dayton Unveils Jobs Plan, Proposes $775 Million Bill

In an effort to get unemployed Minnesotans back to work, Governor Mark Dayton proposed tax credits for businesses that are hiring, a $775 million bonding bill to help companies improve their infrastructure, and additional funding to a state program that helps businesses expand or relocate to Minnesota.

In an effort to stimulate job growth in the state, Governor Mark Dayton and his fellow Democratic legislative leaders on Wednesday unveiled a jobs package that includes a $35 million tax credit program and a $775 million bonding bill.

The tax credit program included in the plan would provide a $3,000 tax credit to any Minnesota business for each veteran, unemployed worker, or recent graduate it hires in 2012, Dayton's office announced. After 2012, the credit would fall to $1,500 per new employee hired and would expire at the end of June 2013. The program would be capped at $35 million.

The package's costliest portion, a $775 million bonding bill, focuses on job-generating infrastructure improvements-including renovation of old properties and improvement of transportation infrastructure. The bill will include $20 million in bonding requests by the Department of Employment and Economic Development to help businesses expand in the state. More details on the bill will be released next week.

Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk said in a statement that the bill is needed to revitalize the state's construction industry, which he described as being in a “depression.”

Also included in the jobs package is a proposal to provide $10 million in additional funding to the Minnesota Investment Fund, which helps businesses relocate or expand to Minnesota. The package also calls for expansion of state programs that provide career-specific training to adults.

Dayton also proposed passing the Internet Sales Tax Fairness bill, which would require online retailers to collect local sales tax from Minnesota residents. Under current law, out-of-state retailers that do not have a physical presence in Minnesota are not required to collect sales tax on online purchases made by local residents.

The bill would level the playing field for brick-and-mortar Minnesota businesses and generate about $3.5 million in 2013, according to Dayton's office.

However, the governor's proposal-which came two weeks before the start of the 2012 legislative session-seems to already be facing Republican opposition.

“While I concur with Governor Dayton's goal to create more jobs in Minnesota, I disagree with an approach that spends more money without addressing needed reform and relies on short-term bonding projects to grow our economy,” House Speaker Kurt Zellers said in a statement. Zellers, a Republican from Maple Grove, added that the plan fails to address “critical reforms” such as reducing “regulatory burden” on businesses and creating a more competitive tax climate.