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Jobs conference committee’s tough task: solve ‘vast differences’ in bottom lines

The conference committee on the jobs and economic development and workforce development supplemental budget bill met for the first time Monday and took care of some easy tasks, namely officially adopting 10 policy provisions that are in both the House and Senate versions.

Senate President Bobby Joe Champion (DFL-Mpls), who sponsors HF5205/SF5289* with Rep. Hodan Hassan (DFL-Mpls), characterized the fiscal sections as having “vast differences” that need to be settled.

No action was taken; nor was the next meeting announced.

[MORE: View fiscal comparisons, policy comparisons]

The starkest differences are in amounts the bills would spend from the Workforce Development Fund in fiscal years 2024-25, with the House version seeking $17 million compared to the Senate’s request for $4.88 million.

Money from that fund would support employment and training programs throughout the state.

Some big money differences can be illustrated by the following workforce employment and training program items that would be funded by the House but not the Senate:

  • $2 million for a biotech innovation district in Brooklyn Park;
  • $2 million for Pfund Foundation;
  • $1 million for Lakeview Methodist Health Care;
  • $1 million for African Immigrants Community Services;
  • $1 million for WomenVenture; and
  • $1 million for the Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce.

Appropriations from the General Fund are more balanced, with the House asking for $997,000 and the Senate $1 million.

Both bodies would increase the amounts available to spend from the General Fund by repealing $5 million originally allocated to Bloomington to support its bid to host the 2027 World Expo. Serbia eventually won that honor.

But the nearly identical totals would not be spent on identical items, for the most part.

For example, the House would appropriate $1 million to assist with the 2026 World Junior Hockey Championship in the Twin Cities but that funding was shut out by the Senate.

Both bodies, however, would provide state support for the 2026 Special Olympics USA Games coming to the state, with the House proposing $1 million and the Senate $2.9 million.

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