In between the various constitutional amendments legislators are planning to introduce and endless talk about Vikings stadium proposals there’s one topic we’d like to hear more about — jobs.
The two parties take different slants on what should be a bipartisan issue and there’s nothing wrong with that. Whatever their starting point, Democrats and Republicans who represent us in St. Paul should be encouraged to work together where possible to jump-start our sluggish economy.
Sen. Paul Gazelka, R-Baxter wants to continue streamlining the permitting process for companies that are interested in expanding or starting new businesses. Progress was made last session and Gazelka even gives Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton his due for cooperating with these efforts. Gazelka continues to call for environmental reforms that protect the environment without putting shackles on entrepreneurs. The Senate assistant majority leader also wants to reduce taxes to encourage job growth.
On the other side of the aisle Rep. John Ward, DFL-Brainerd, says jobs should be the top priority of this session. He has focused attention on the Brainerd Lakes Chamber’s Bridges Academy and Workplace Connection — programs geared at matching students to meaningful jobs that are sometimes hard to fill. The DFL jobs plan features a tie-bid preference for Minnesota businesses; a wage supplement for unemployed workers who take part in job training and access to capital for small business expansion.
One element of the DFL plan we’re not keen on is the $3,000 tax credit for each unemployed veteran or graduate. Our business sources maintain such a tax credit isn’t going to sway most businesses into hiring more people and the money could be better spent elsewhere.
There are always more than one route to reach the same destination and we encourage lawmakers to keep the ideas coming. Real growth in jobs will solve a variety of this state’s problems.