Legislative Update: Special Session wraps up, governor signs budget bills

May 31, 2017

MHTA — UPDATE: Governor Dayton has signed all of the budget bills and vetoed the preemption bill. The governor also line-item vetoed funding for the legislature included in the State Government Finance Bill, offering to restore the funding if legislative leaders agree to a special session around several tax and education provisions.

Original story: A somewhat contentious legislative session that went into an overtime special session wrapped up late last week, sending a number of budget bills to Governor Dayton for his signature or veto. The governor has not yet said which bills meet his approval, but would begin acting on them on Tuesday. We will update this story as we learn more about the governor’s decisions.

A number of MHTA public policy priorities were included in the budget bills.

SciTechsperience Internship Program

The SciTechsperience Internship Program, which connects college students majoring in STEM to paid internships in small to mid-sized MN companies, was funded at $2.7 million in the Omnibus Jobs and Energy Budget Bill.

R&D Tax Credit

The Omnibus Tax bill includes an increase in the rate of the second tier of the state’s R&D tax credit, from 2.5 percent to 4.0 percent.

Broadband

$20 million in funding for the state’s Border-to-Border Broadband Grant Program was also included in the Omnibus Jobs and Energy Budget Bill.

Angel Tax Credit

In the biggest disappointment of the session, the Angel Investment Tax Credit was left out of the Omnibus Tax Bill.

After not being included in the House and Senate Omnibus Tax Bills, MHTA and dozens of companies and organizations reached out to legislators and were successful in persuading them to include $20 million in funding and extending the sunset date.

At the last minute, as bills were being negotiated behind closed doors, the funding for the Angel Tax Credit was removed from the final bill.

MHTA and others will push to restore funding for this vital program in the next session.

Small Cell

After a flurry of late activity, the small cell (5G wireless) bill was included in the Omnibus Jobs and Energy Budget Bill.

Sales Tax Exemption for Telecommunications Equipment

An expansion of the sales tax exemption on telecommunications equipment (to included fiber and conduit) was included in the Omnibus Tax bill.

MnDRIVE

$2 million in funding was included in the Higher Education Omnibus bill for cancer care research through the University of Minnesota’s Minnesota Discovery, Research, and InnoVation Economy (MnDRIVE) program.

University of Minnesota

The Omnibus Higher Education bill includes a total $636,868,000 in FY2018 and $636,661,000 in FY2019 for the University of Minnesota. Of that amount, $7,491,000 each year is allocated to the University of Minnesota and Mayo Foundation Partnership for research in biotechnology and medical genomics.

Of the total funding included in the Omnibus Higher Education bill, $6,181,000 in each fiscal year of the biennium is for general research, the Labor Education Service, Natural Resources Research Institute, Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, Bell Museum of Natural History, and the Humphrey exhibit. An additional $1 million each fiscal year is included for the Natural Resources Research Institute to invest in applied research for economic development.

The University of Minnesota receives an additional $119,934,000 in the Bonding bill. Of that amount, $28.3 million is for the construction of the Chemistry and Advanced Materials Science Building at the Duluth campus.

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities

The Omnibus Higher Education bill includes $714,748,000 in FY2018 and $714,640,000 in FY2019 for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities receives an additional $92,325,000 in the Bonding bill. Of that amount, South Central College in North Mankato receives $9.6 million to design, renovate, renew, furnish, and equip laboratory, classroom, and office spaces.

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