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Letter - Legislature triples investment in creating jobs, helping businesses

To the editor:

I wanted to write to address the status of Minnesota's economy. New numbers released this month have shown that Minnesota's unemployment rate has dropped yet again, from 5.3 percent down to 5.2 percent. That looks pretty darn good compared to the U.S. rate of 7.6 percent. The last time it was this low was all the way back in May 2008, over five years ago and before the great recession.

This is great news. As a state, we are moving forward with a strong economy that continues to lead other states around the Midwest and the country. And while Minnesota continues to be a leader in unemployment rate across the country, Stevens County currently sits at 3.2 percent, which leads all counties in Minnesota. Overall, our district is on pretty solid ground.

These are each encouraging signs. But that doesn't mean we don't need to keep pushing for more jobs and economic development. That's why this year, we tripled Minnesota's investment in job creation. Our budget invested $100 million in economic development; a near $60 million increase. The new funds will help bring businesses to communities across the state by offering loans and grants for new companies or for expansion of current companies.

We also knew that existing businesses need as much help from the state as possible to stay strong as foundations for our communities. That's why we lowered the cost for unemployment insurance by $350 million. It will help save the average Minnesota employer $150 per employee.

As your representative, I continue to push for these kinds of investments. We need to support our local businesses that our communities depend on. We need the state to encourage new businesses to set up shop on our main streets. Our budget takes concrete steps to do just that.

Rep. Jay McNamar, District 12A

Elbow Lake, MN