Getting Minnesotans back to work

Getting people back to work continues to be my top priority for the legislative session. Despite some welcome signs that our state’s economy is beginning to stabilize after a long and painful recession, Minnesota still faces a serious jobs deficit. That is why I am determined to work with Gov. Dayton and the Republican majorities to pass a jobs plan to get Minnesotans back to work.
Our DFL Jobs Plan will help businesses grow and retain good jobs in Minnesota by providing new incentives to companies that hire unemployed workers, veterans or recent graduates. This credit would be a one-time $3,000 tax credit to any Minnesota business for each veteran, unemployed worker or recent graduate they hire during calendar year 2012, and a $1,500 credit for each new hire through June 2013. This $35 million program would create more than 10,000 new, private-sector jobs this year.
Another important component of the jobs plan is to put new money into the Minnesota Investment Fund, which has a successful track record of attracting new businesses and helping existing Minnesota companies grow and expand. The money secured for this program last year has allowed the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to attract new business to Minnesota, resulting in $46 million in private investment and the creation of 218 new jobs. Communities across the state have been able to attract new companies thanks to this fund.
The plan also creates new opportunities for Minnesotans to get job training in high-demand fields through expanding the Minnesota FastTRAC initiative statewide. This proven program has been successful in training workers for high-demand jobs. The expansion will be a good investment to getting workers back into the field.
The DFL Jobs plan includes an initiative to help another 2,000 Minnesotans receive job skills training through grants for professional education for in-demand jobs. These grants will go to adults who pursue and complete short-term education and training at a Minnesota State Colleges and Universities institution in regionally high-demand career fields.
Making targeted and strategic investments in the state’s infrastructure will put more than 20,000 Minnesotans back to work repairing and improving the state’s roads, bridges, wastewater treatment facilities, and higher education research facilities is another important component in the jobs plan. The proposed bonding bill provides $775 million for new investment in infrastructure, allowing primarily private-sector employers to put tens of thousands of Minnesotans back to work. The bill would also include the Hormel Institute expansion which will create 125 new, permanent jobs, and $20 million in bonding requests by DEED specifically designed to help other businesses expand in Minnesota. These initiatives would provide grants to cities for business infrastructure, help local authorities renew old property for business development, and aid in the development of transportation improvements focused on businesses.
This 2012 proposal will create jobs in Minnesota, but more can be done. I welcome your ideas on job creation. The important thing is that we get something done. Let’s work together, bring our good ideas to the table, and act quickly to pass a meaningful jobs bill that will get Minnesota working again.
It is an honor to represent Southern Minnesota as your State Senator. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns. I can be reached at Room 19 State Office Building, St. Paul, MN 55155. My phone number 651-296-9248 and email sen.dan.sparks@senate.mn.
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Senator Dan Sparks
Dan Sparks represents District 27, which includes all or portions of Dodge, Faribault, Freeborn, Mower, and Steele counties in the southeastern part of the state.

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