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McNamar introduces bills aimed at helping Greater Minnesota

State Representative Jay McNamar, DFL-District 12A, presented several bills last Tuesday that he said would have a significant impact on Greater Minnesota residents, businesses and local governments.

One of those bills was HF 2059, a bill that would dedicate $25 million of the bonding bill to the Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure Grant Program.

Officials from several rural Minnesota cities testified with McNamar on the value that the grant program has added to the business climate in small towns throughout the state.

The additional funds provided to the grant program, administered by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), could be used by rural communities to help expand industrial parks, upgrade utility connections for new or existing businesses, or improve community resources like water treatment facilities.

“This grant program has created over 3,000 jobs in Greater Minnesota, and has helped keep over 4,000 jobs in our small towns,” said McNamar. “With the infusion of bonding dollars I’m proposing, we’ll be able to get businesses started and more people working, buying houses, sending kids to school and continue to improve the quality of our rural way of life.”

Another bill addresses funding for rural counties.

McNamar said that the state provided an additional $40 million in county program aid funding to Minnesota counties last year but 11 heavily agricultural counties with small populations in western and southern Minnesota actually saw a decrease in program aid because the rapid rise in farmland values adversely affected the funding formula used to determine the funds.

Three of those counties are Big Stone, Grant, and Stevens. McNamar authored HF 2679 in order to address the disparity.

“My bill would fill the gap for what our counties lost in 2014 as we take a look at how we can change the formula at the Legislature to avoid this in the future,” said McNamar.

McNamar also presented HF 1892 to the House tax committee. The bill extends the same road maintenance vehicle sales tax exemptions to counties and cities that townships currently receive.

McNamar said the bill would save cities and counties thousands of dollars in sales taxes when they purchase items like gravel trucks and dump trucks.