The House on Monday night made an offer to the Senate in hopes of coming closer to reaching a deal on the omnibus jobs bill.
Both legislative chambers have passed budget bills that provide increased funding for programs like the Minnesota Investment Fund (MIF) to spur entrepreneurial activity. They also steer dollars toward workforce development.
The House’s offer sought to bring the two sides closer together on the specifics. But the conference committee broke at around at 8:40 p.m. with Senate Chair David Tomassoni, DFL-Chisholm, saying that he wasn’t satisfied with a number of provisions.
The House, lead by lead negotiator Rep. Tim Mahoney, DFL-St. Paul, increased its MIF proposal by $10 million to match the Senate at $30 million for the biennium. The House also increased its Job Creation Fund proposal by $6.5 million to match the Senate at $25 million. The House increased funding to the Minnesota Film & TV Board from $1.9 million to $3 million. The move, however, lags the Senate’s $10 million for the Film Board.
The House and Senate have different approaches to funding more than $25 million in various business development and workforce development grants. The Senate’s approach has been to make direct appropriations to groups like Women Venture and BioBusiness Alliance. The House bill funds competitive grants rather than making specific appropriations. The House chipped in a couple of direct appropriations to groups including Minnesota Diversified Industries and Big Brother-Big Sisters. But Tomassoni said the competitive grants that were in the House offer was a disappointment.
The House has a major difference from the Senate on a policy change that stems from a number of employee lockouts in Minnesota. Workers at American Crystal Sugar recently ratified a contract after a 20-month lockout. Both major Twin Cities orchestras have experienced recent lockouts. The House bill would add an additional three years of unemployment insurance benefits for locked out workers. Republicans criticized the proposal on the House floor last month as forcing the state to take sides in private labor disputes. The Senate doesn’t have the lockout provision and Mahoney said after he made his offer that the matter hasn’t been resolved with the Senate.
“That has not been decided yet. [It’s] still in play,” Mahoney said.
The conference committee broke for the night shortly before 10 p.m. without the Senate making a counteroffer.