Governor Walz on Minnesota’s Continued Economic Expansion, Sixth Consecutive Month of Job Growth
ST. PAUL, MN (STL.News) Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan reacted today as Minnesota hit its sixth consecutive month of job growth and its lowest unemployment rate since 1999, at 2.5%. Minnesota gained 11,500 jobs, up 0.4% over the past month, according to figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Jobs and Economic Development. Minnesota’s participation rate fell from 67.9% to 68.1% and the unemployment rate fell two tenths of a point to 2.5% in March 2022 from 2.7% in February 2022, tied with its lowest level ever recorded, in February 1999.
“Thanks to hard workers across the state, we are moving Minnesota forward,” Governor Walz said. “For the sixth month in a row, we have both created jobs and reached historic low levels of unemployment, surpassing states across the country. Now is the time to pass a budget that builds on that success and invests in the people who make our economy strong. We have the opportunity to reduce costs for working families, stimulate job growth and continue to grow our economy. »
“Our Minnesota students, businesses, and workers are more resilient than anywhere else in the country, and our strong economic position today is because of them,” Lieutenant Governor Flanagan said. “Right now, with our growing economy and historic surplus, we have the opportunity to invest in these Minnesotans and help ensure their financial stability and economic success for generations to come.”
In addition to Minnesota’s low unemployment rate, the state has a historic surplus and is in a strong economic position to make record investments toward continued economic growth and put money into the hands of Minnesotans. Minnesota’s Executive and Budget released an economic forecast in February showing Minnesota’s state budget surplus is projected to hit a historic $9.25 billion for the 2022-23 fiscal year.
Investments proposed by the Governor and Lieutenant Governor to expand economic opportunity in the Walz-Flanagan Budget to move Minnesota forward include:
Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan’s revised budget proposes distributing Walz checks of up to $1,000 directly to Minnesotans. Single filers would receive a $500 payment while a married couple would receive a $1,000 payment. More than 2.7 million Minnesota households would receive a Walz Check under this proposal.
Develop economic growth
The governor and lieutenant governor also propose investing $73 million to address inflationary pressures facing Minnesota public pension retirees and $20 million in the Main Street Economic Revitalization Program to continue. to provide funds to help communities rebuild and recover. Governor and Lieutenant Governor also recommend additional investment in Small Business Partnership Grants to enable nonprofits to provide business development services to even more Black small business owners and entrepreneurs , Native and Colored throughout the state.
Increase educational opportunities
The Walz-Flanagan Budget recommends $10 million annually to develop rigorous coursework and vocational and technical training for historically underserved students and college students in Greater Minnesota. It also recommends a $15 million investment in the Tech Youth Training program – to prepare the future of our Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) workforce, students and youth to meet the demands of the Minnesota’s growing tech industry and leaving the program with connections. to the employer ready to hire in the highest paying careers in the state.
Advanced Workforce Development
The Walz-Flanagan Budget invests in effective, equity-focused workforce development strategies to increase the prosperity and economic vitality of Minnesotans across the state, especially in the most important industries. hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor are proposing a $1 billion investment to provide payments to frontline workers and a $115 million investment to retain those who provide lifesaving care to people with disabilities, the elderly, people with behavioral health needs and homeless people. They are also proposing critical investments to revitalize the healthcare workforce, expand work-study programs for high-need career fields like manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare and technology. information, and advance technology refresher training. The Walz-Flanagan Budget invests in the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State systems to help maintain the state’s reputation as a national leader in research and innovation by tackling increasing the cost of attendance to make higher education more accessible. Additionally, the budget invests $15 million in one-time funding to modernize the Department of Jobs and Economic Development’s workforce system to better serve Minnesota job seekers with enhanced digital tools. that bring the resources that Minnesotans can get in person, virtually.
Expand access to child care and kindergarten
Gov. Walz and Lt. Gov. Flanagan are proposing to expand public pre-kindergarten spaces through a blended delivery model requiring a combination of school, Head Start, daycare, and home child care programs . In total, this expansion could serve more than 23,000 eligible young learners and help ensure ease of navigation and choice for families, as schools and communities work together to promote consistent, high-quality early learning systems. quality. The Walz-Flanagan budget also increases investments in early learning scholarships and improves access to child care for Minnesota families by increasing child care assistance payment rates up to to federal standard and guaranteeing stable ongoing increases tied to recent market rates. The budget includes funding to stabilize child care providers and programs experiencing extreme financial hardship as they continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. The budget will also improve access to child care for Minnesota families by enabling the Basic Variable Fee Child Care Assistance Program to provide assistance to pay for child care to all families and all eligible children and to eliminate waiting lists.
Invest in paid family and medical leave
Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan are proposing a Medicare and Paid Family Leave program to ensure Minnesotans don’t have to make the unfair choice between a paycheck and missing work. work to care for a new baby or a family member with a serious illness. The creation of this program is necessary to support businesses, ensure fairer economic opportunities for Minnesotans, retain more women in the workforce, and positively impact the lives of children. The Walz-Flanagan Budget also supports working families with Earned Sick and Safe Time. The proposal would ensure that workers can bank up to 48 hours a year when recovering from illness, traveling to a medical appointment, caring for a child while a school is closed or seek care and help because of domestic violence, harassment, or sexual assault.
Lower taxes for families and small businesses
Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan are proposing lower taxes for families and small businesses to help level the playing field for the middle class and allow working people to keep more of their income. The governor and lieutenant governor’s budget includes a one-time $2.73 billion investment to replenish the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, which would prevent pandemic-related tax increases for businesses . To provide tax reductions to middle-class families with child care expenses, the budget recognizes the challenges of the current environment by increasing the income threshold and the maximum credit amount for the child care credit Minnesota Dependents, providing tax reductions to more Minnesota taxpayers. This proposal would also update Minnesota’s newborn baby credit so that it is available to all taxpayers, regardless of marital status. Additionally, the budget proposes to increase eligibility for Minnesota’s K-12 education credit to ensure families and students are able to afford the supplies needed to obtain a world-class education in Minnesota.