ST. PAUL -- A package of tax incentives designed to spur economic
development in outstate Minnesota was introduced in the Senate Thursday by Sen. Don Samuelson, DFL-Brainerd.
The legislation reflects an economic stimulus program developed by
the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities' Economic Development Committee.
Samuelson cited research data, compiled last year by the Minnesota House of Representatives, which found that income in outstate Minnesota grew at a significantly slower rate between 1990 and 1999 than income in the Twin Cities. Real per-capita income in the Twin Cities during the nine-year period grew by 21.5 percent, from $30,995 to $37,671. During that same period, real per-capita income in outstate Minnesota rose from $21,278 to $25,012, an increase of 17.5 percent.
Samuelson said in western and southern sections of the state 21 counties lost population between 1990 and 1998.
"The statistics show that greater Minnesota did not really share in
one of the most profound periods of economic prosperity in our country's
history," Samuelson said.
Samuelson's bill offers a series of tax incentives to stimulate development of manufacturing, agricultural processing, mining, research and development, warehousing and high technology in outstate Minnesota.
The bill offers $2.5 million in credits to stimulate the creation of
regionally based venture capital funds across Minnesota, lets cities grant new businesses exemptions from the statewide commercial-industrial property tax, limits the tax liability on businesses in outstate Minnesota to in-state transactions, and authorizes cities to abate local property taxes for up to 20 years for new businesses.
While noting that outstate Minnesota has been losing population for years, Samuelson said, five times as many college graduates moved from the outstate to the Twin Cities as moved from the Twin Cities to outstate Minnesota in the last 10 years. By 2010, he said, 74 of Minnesota's 87 counties will see an erosion of their age-30-and-younger populations.
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