(The Center Square) – Gov. Tim Walz announced a 10-year economic expansion plan recommending taxpayers spend $3.5 million now and $15-20 million yearly to market the state to employers and employees in in-demand categories.
“We challenged a broad network of Minnesota leaders to look toward Minnesota’s future and find opportunities to make Minnesota a global destination to work, live, and own a business,” Walz said in a statement. “The result – dozens of bold new ideas – will guide not only our Administration, but the state’s work for the decade to come. I’m grateful to our council members for their tireless work to create Minnesota’s roadmap for economic expansion.”
Many of these ideas recommend using millions of taxpayer dollars to subsidize the private sector. For example, the report recommends making Minnesota the number one nation in the state for teacher pay. Other suggestions include:
- Establish a $160 million closing fund with an agile governance structure to increase the availability of business incentives for firms considering starting in or relocating to Minnesota.
- Create an angel tax credit of up to $30 million per year.
- Seek $1 billion in new investments in Minnesota headquartered venture capital and private equity funds by encouraging all public pension funds in Minnesota to create a plan to reinvest 3-5% of their assets in funds that focus on Minnesota headquartered startups and scale-ups.
- Enable the state to cover some support-related expenses such as transportation, housing, and child care after eligible people complete a workforce training program.
The report recommends “sustainable, long-term revenue” to fund infrastructure but stops short of suggesting a funding mechanism.
In the 2020-2021 budget, Walz suggested enacting a 20-cent per gallon fuel tax hike over two years along with an increase in sales taxes and vehicle license tab fees to pay for state infrastructure, but this report doesn’t.
The council also recommends policy changes, such as attracting more teachers by reducing licensing barriers for teachers, providing students with better access to mental health resources, and capping school class size at 25 students in every school.
The council, comprised of 15 labor, business, philanthropic and nonprofit leaders statewide, was tasked to plan for Minnesota’s economic expansion.
Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove welcomed the plan.
“Our economy has faced disruptions these last three years, but Minnesota has a tremendous opportunity to seize this moment to create an economy that works for everyone,” Grove said in a statement. “We appreciate this extraordinary group of leaders for sharing their time and expertise to advise our state, and I’m inspired by the report they’ve put forward today.”