Welcome to the Rethos Policy Updates. We will plan to send these out regularly throughout the Minnesota 2020 Legislative session to keep you informed about our advocacy efforts the State Capitol. If you know of other people who would like to receive these updates directly in their inboxes, please encourage them to subscribe.
There seems to be consensus at the Capitol that there will be a bonding bill in 2020. Governor Walz released his Capital Budget proposal, referred to as the “Local Jobs and Projects Plan,” in January. The Governor’s proposal totals $2.6 billion in capital spending. The MN House proposal is more likely to be in the range of $3.5 billion, which is the total that has been presented by House DFL leadership as necessary to meet the state’s needs. The Republican majority in the MN Senate has not committed to a number but seems open to a bill total of at least $1 billion.
Several important historic preservation projects have been included in the Governor’s proposal. One project that Rethos supports - the proposed restoration of the Batcher Opera House in downtown Staples - received a special mention during the Department of Management and Budget’s presentation during the first meeting of the House Capital Investment Committee. Stay tuned as more local projects are presented.
Minnesota Historic Tax Credit
Rethos’ number one advocacy priority is extending the sunset date for the Minnesota Historic Tax Credit program. Rethos staff has been meeting with Legislative leaders in the months leading up to the start of the session, and has recently raised the issue with House Speaker Melissa Hortman and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka. We have also talked with tax policy advisors on the Governor’s staff and in the Department of Revenue, and met with Rep. Cheryl Youakim, our chief bill author in the MN House, in her office. Together with our lobbyists from Winthrop & Weinstine, we will do all we can to make sure that this incentive is able to support rehab development into the foreseeable future.
Remembrances of Rep. Loeffler
The first House session included bipartisan remembrances of Rep. Diane Loeffler, a champion for preservation and especially for the restoration of the state capitol building. Rep. Dean Urdahl recalled Rep. Loeffler’s determination to see the Capitol loggia reopened, and we will be especially appreciative of the fresh air and the amazing view that the loggia provides once it is reopened in the spring. Video of remembrance of Rep. Loeffler.
Welcome to our Policy Intern
Welcome to Nidhi Jariwala, our policy intern with Capitol Pathways. Nidhi is a second-year student at Hamline University. She is pursuing a double major in Economics and Global Studies with a minor in Spanish. At Hamline University, Nidhi works as an assistant for the global studies department and as a head delegate for the Hamline Model United Nations team. She is very passionate about promoting economic development and environmental justice internationally. She will be assisting with policy research and bill tracking, shadowing our policy director, Erin Hanafin Berg, at the Capitol, and drafting these updates throughout the Legislative session. We are thrilled to have her on our team.
Join Us for Main Street Day at the Capitol
Help build state support for Main Street Minnesota and its strong and robust network of volunteers, small business owners, and community leaders by joining with us on Tuesday, March 10, 12:30-4:30 at the State Capitol in St. Paul. Learn More and Register.