Plan has good, bad

To the Editor:

By a vote of 75-57, the Minnesota House of Representatives has approved a proposal expected to promote economic development in our state over the next two years. I supported the plan.

As with any omnibus bill, there are a number of provisions included within this jobs and economic development proposal that I strongly support, and others that I hated. In this instance, I thought the positives outweighed the negatives.

As the former chairman of the Minnesota House Jobs and Economic Development Finance Committee, I supported the funding increase for jobs programs. I note a Republican-sponsored provision that increases revenue for the Minnesota Investment Fund, through which the Department of Employment and Economic Development provides financing to help add new workers and retain high-quality jobs on a statewide basis, particularly for industrial, manufacturing and technology-related industries.

But I was disappointed by a number of the bill’s provisions, including forgiving millions of dollars in loans, and the funding of redundant programs and other vague initiatives. The fees and penalties included in the bill also were far too high, as they punish the hard-working Minnesotans who are just trying to do their jobs.

With any luck, maybe some of these provisions can be eliminated when the House and Senate create a compromise jobs funding bill in the next few weeks. If I am fortunate enough to be named to that conference committee, I will fight to remove some of these unnecessary initiatives.

State Rep. Bob Gunther,