By John Michaelson
Minnesota News Connection
Gov. Mark Dayton says job creation will be his top priority in the 2012 legislative session, and on Wednesday, Jan.11, he laid out his plan. It includes a $3,000 tax credit for businesses for each unemployed person, veteran or recent graduate they hire.
Among those in support is Minnesota AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson, who said, “We know that creating job opportunities and incentives is the best thing state government can do for struggling middle-class families and that tens of thousands of Minnesotans are desperately looking for work.”
The proposal also seeks to put folks to work with infrastructure improvements. Knutson says the package aims to reduce unemployment with a major investment in buildings, roads and bridges.
“Our infrastructure has been neglected for a number of years, and this would put $775 million into new investment into infrastructure. Remember, those are private-sector jobs, and that could put tens of thousands of Minnesotans back to work.”
Another piece of the plan is a focus on workforce training, which Knutson calls a key to Minnesota’s future, with new skills in demand in this era of high-tech and global markets.
“We have to have a prepared workforce in order to meet the needs of that new economy, but it’s also for the individual. That means that that individual can find a job that will support their family.”
Some Republicans say that tax credit is too targeted; they’d like to see a tax plan that would benefit all employers in the state. Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, says he’s glad to see that the governor is realizing that lowering taxes and the cost of doing business encourages job creation.
“But we shouldn’t carve out special groups. I hope the governor is willing to talk about a more broadly targeted tax plan that will benefit all employers and all employees in Minnesota.”
The 2012 Legislature will be gaveled into session Jan. 24. Minnesota’s unemployment now stands at 5.9 percent, but more than 175,000 in the state still are looking for work.
Details on the governor’s proposal are online at mn.gov.