Commentary: Giving Minnesota's job creators a boost
Focusing on employment growth and improving the economic climate in Minnesota has been a priority at the Legislature since I arrived in St. Paul. Giving our businesses the tools they need to grow and stay in Minnesota will not only help our financial outlook but will also help families around the state by increasing employment.
The Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, HF2337, passed by the House last week, will make Minnesota a more competitive place to do business and will enable our job creators to continue to grow their businesses in Minnesota.
This bill would provide a more than $25 million increase to the research and development tax credit. Minnesota is a leader in the biotechnology industry and should be a magnet for high-growth. This bill will allow small, start-up biotech businesses to partner with larger, profitable companies to gain access to more immediate cash so they can hire more employees. This program is based on a similar program that created thousands of jobs in New Jersey. We are aiming to invest in programs that will grow the medical device and biotechnology industries in our state, creating good paying jobs for Minnesotans.
This bill also provides a permanent $5 million increase to the Angel Investment Tax Credit, increasing the annual limit from $12 million to $17 million. Currently only six percent of the investment is in Greater Minnesota. If 30 percent of investment is not in Greater Minnesota by the end of 2013, Angel Investors will receive a 40 percent credit, instead of 25 percent for investing in Greater Minnesota.
An Internship Grant Program is also created in this bill that aims to attract and keep great talent in Greater Minnesota. This program, administered through the Office of Higher Education would give a 40 percent grant up to $1,250 per intern to employers.
Another portion of the Tax Relief and Job Creation Act involves our military veterans. The Jobs Tax Credit for Veterans would provide employers credits for hiring either disabled, unemployed or veterans on food stamps. It also provides up to a $9,600 credit per veteran.
This bill also provides for a statewide business property tax reduction. This bill would exempt 70 percent of the first $150,000 of value for all business property in Minnesota; this will be especially beneficial for rural small businesses. It also begins a 12-year phase-out of the tax in 2014, to be completed in 2025. Property tax relief is good for all Minnesotans, and especially our business owners.
Ultimately this bill is helping Minnesota's job creators find Minnesota's job seekers. We need to continue making our businesses a priority in Minnesota and with this bill we are giving them the tools they need to be successful in Minnesota.