This year’s policy and funding omnibus bill for jobs, energy, and economic Development passed the Senate this week. DFLers made several attempts to improve the bill, but Senate Republicans rejected most of our efforts.
The bill is light on investment in jobs and economic development. It does not include any money to address the challenges businesses are facing in finding trained employees and it doesn’t provide resources to address the significant equity issues Minnesota face. It does, however, provide $250 million to frontline workers in the form of bonus checks. Frontline workers in the Republican plan are limited to paramedics, nurses, and other health care givers. The competing DFL plan is for $1 billion and is much more expansive, it includes most workers who weren’t collecting unemployment and did not have a remote working option.
Similarly, the energy provisions in the bill provide little funding for clean energy investments and include no substantive changes that moves Minnesota closer to decarbonizing our energy systems. Also missing from the bill are investments in weatherization assistance to help permanently lower Minnesotans’ energy bills and the state funding that will be required to unlock matching federal dollars from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) for upgrading the state’s energy and building infrastructure. Senate DFLers were successful in amending the bill to improve Republican language around carbon capture and sequestration technology and require the Department of Commerce to provide technical assistance if requested by Tribal Nations who choose to form a council on energy.
The bill passed largely on party lines and was sent to the House, where it will be matched with a House bill and sent to conference committee. (SF 4091)