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House panel hears bill to fund $3.6 million in Greater MN business development grants

A business development grant program for Greater Minnesota that has created more than 5,000 jobs and retained 9,500 jobs since 2010 should continue to receive state funds, says Rep. Dan Wolgamott (DFL-St. Cloud).

He sponsors HF426, which would appropriate $3.6 million in the 2022-23 biennium from the General Fund for the Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure Grant Program.

“BDPI is one of the most successful economic development programs that we have in Greater Minnesota,” Wolgamott said.

The bill, as amended, was laid over Wednesday by the House Workforce and Business Development Finance and Policy Committee for possible omnibus bill inclusion. The companion, SF434, sponsored by Sen. John Jasinski (R-Faribault), awaits action by the Senate Jobs and Economic Growth Finance and Policy Committee.

The grant program provides funds to city and county governments to make infrastructure improvements promoting economic development in Greater Minnesota. Local governments must provide a match of at least 50% of project capital costs.

Greater Minnesota cites depend on this grant program to attract new businesses and create new jobs in their communities, Wolgamott said.

Eligible projects include publicly owned infrastructure that supports economic development projects, including wastewater collection and treatment, drinking water, storm sewers, utility extensions, and streets.

Economic development projects eligible for funding include manufacturing, technology, warehousing and distribution, research and development, agricultural processing, and industrial park development.

Grants are administered by the Department of Employment and Economic Development. Wolgamott said since 2010, DEED has granted funds to 140 Greater Minnesota cities and counties.

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