Senate Minority Lead Nick Frentz (DFL-North Mankato) is pleased to support the $1.37 billion Capital Investment bill that passed both the Senate and House today. This legislation will go a long way to improve Minnesota’s economy by creating thousands of jobs, invest in our public buildings and infrastructure across our state, and make important safety upgrades to our transportation system. The bill passed today will finance $1.87 billion in statewide public projects, once other funding sources are counted.
In response to the Capitol Investment bill passing today, Sen. Frentz released the following statement:
“I am committed to creating new jobs in Southern Minnesota that will support our local community and provide an economic boost for our region. That is why passing a robust bonding bill today as the right thing to do and it is long overdue. We have more than $5 billion of requests to improve crumbling public buildings and infrastructure across our state. These investments ensure access to safe drinking water, housing that is affordable, public safety, and upkeep for the higher education institutions that prepare our future workforce in all four corners of the state. This bonding bill also provides important tax relief for small businesses and farmers.
I was pleased that we were able to include several important tax provisions in the legislation passed today, including making full section 179 expensing on like-kind exchanges (trade-ins), retroactive for tax years 2018 and 2019. This change will help local farmers and small businesses by allowing them to take a 100 percent deduction in the first year of a purchase when equipment is put into operation. Changes to the federal tax code a couple of years ago created a problem in Minnesota because they required trade-in value to be counted as income. This meant farmers and small-business owners were hit with tax increases because the state tax code only allows a 20 percent deduction in the first year. The proposed change would align Minnesota with the federal tax code by allowing a 100 percent deduction.
I was also pleased there were a number of supplemental budget provisions added including pay increases for personal care assistants who care for our vulnerable Minnesotans, funds for direct care and treatment programs at the Department of Human Services, State Patrol salary increases, additional funds for the State Patrol and DNR to pay for overtime and deficiencies created from the civil unrest that took place earlier this year, and money to prevent the closure of TOGO and Willow River corrections facilities in Northern Minnesota.
Some of the projects that will directly affect our local communities include $7.2 million for the City of Mankato riverbank stabilization, $2 million for Caswell Park improvements, and $1.794 million for the MN Sex Offender Program at St. Peter.
The city of Mankato will receive $7.2 million for the riverbank stabilization project along the Minnesota River to help mitigate erosion and protect area wells. There has been a lot of shoreline erosion in the past ten years and the river is now threatening one of Mankato’s primary municipal wells. This funding will protect major public assets for our community and reduce the amount of sediment/pollution flowing downstream to the Mississippi River.
The bill includes $1.794 million for the design phase to move the renovation of the Minnesota Sex Offender Program at the St. Peter Regional Treatment Center forward. The renovation project will expand the program’s transitional housing and initiatives. This is an important and much-needed project that I am hopeful will receive additional bonding funds in the future.
Caswell Park has hosted the state high school softball tournament for more than 25 years. The $2 million in bonding funds in this bill will be used to make needed upgrades to the softball complex. Our softball fields are a huge asset to our community and the sorely needed improvements will provide economic opportunities and improve the site as a regional destination.
This is a robust but responsible bill. We need to start taking care of our state-owned assets and create jobs to boost our economy harmed by the pandemic. This bill is a responsible step forward.
As always, I welcome your input on this and any other issue before the legislature. Please reach out to me with your comments and suggestions on this issue and any others that I may be able to help you with. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-6153 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.”