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Greater Mankato Advocate

The Greater Mankato Advocate is Greater Mankato Growth's public affairs newsletter to keep you up-to-date on key public policy matters affecting your business and Greater Mankato. The Greater Mankato Advocate will ensure that you’re able to have input and impact on those issues by providing you with the information and tools you need to be an effective advocate on behalf of your business and our community.

In the following articles, you will find timely, factual and balanced information that will allow you to get engaged in policy matters that are important to you. 

As GMG works to raise the visibility of our marketplace and its importance to the state among state leaders and centers of influence, our efforts will be most effective when you are engaged on issues that are of importance to your business and the community. We encourage you to review the valuable information presented on this page and weigh in with your thoughts on the issues by participating in our events and contacting your legislators directly.


April 2015

 

Sales Tax Update

You may have seen reports in the media recently regarding legislative activity around the proposal by Mankato and North Mankato to extend their local .5% sales tax to fund critical improvements to existing infrastructure and facilities and construct new regional recreation facilities. As a result, there may be some confusion regarding exactly where this proposal stands at the Legislature. We wanted to provide you with an update that seeks to clarify the status of our legislation. However, please know that our community’s proposal to extend the sales tax is very much alive, it is just moving through the typical ups and downs that are often part of the legislative process.

On April 13 the House Property Tax & Local Government Finance Division released their Division Report. This Division report contains the sales tax language for Mankato and North Mankato, along with other tax policy provisions. Unfortunately, the Division Report removes the section of Mankato and North Mankato’s bill that would provide up to $30 million for new recreation facilities. This Division Report will be included in the overall tax bill that is currently being prepared for introduction in the House Tax Committee. While the Senate Tax Committee has not yet introduced their tax bill, there is no indication that they would not include the proposed legislative language by Mankato and North Mankato to fund both existing and new infrastructure/facilities. All of these legislative processes will lead to a Conference Committee between the House and Senate at the end of May where any differences between the House and Senate bills will be negotiated before a final bill is passed. We’ll need grassroots community support to weigh in with key legislators at that time, so standby for a call to action. In the meantime, city representatives along with GMG continue to work with key legislators to advance our proposal and to ensure that any final bill reflects all of the components supported and requested by the community. Please don’t hesitate to contact Patrick Baker at 507.385.6657 if you have any questions.

 

Spring Public Affairs Forum Series Update

Throughout the year, Greater Mankato Growth brings together compelling speakers and business leaders to discuss timely and relevant political and policy issues over breakfast or lunch. We invite you to join us for the third event in the 2015 Spring Public Affairs Forum Series presented by Enventis. Dr. Laura Kalambokidis will join us for a luncheon event where she will share her perspective on the state of Minnesota's economy. Click the link below for more details and to register for the event.

Luncheon with Minnesota State Economist Dr. Laura Kalambokidis
Thursday, May 07, 2015 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Greater Mankato Business Development Center Sakatah Trail Room, 1961 Premier Drive, Mankato, MN

Did you miss the Public Affairs Forum Series event on April 16 with Minnesota State Demographer, Dr. Susan Brower? Click here to access the slide show presentation that was used during the event. Photos from the event can be found on our Flickr page

 


March 2015

 

2015 Legislative Session Overview

The Minnesota Legislature convened on January 6, 2015. The big news from November’s election is that Minnesotan’s returned Governor Dayton to office while 11 seats in the Minnesota House of Representatives (including 10 in Greater Minnesota) switched from DFL to Republican control, putting Republicans in charge of that chamber and ending two years of complete DFL control of state government.

The major task of the Legislature this year is to write a new biennial state budget, a task that is expected to be easier this year than in years past when legislators faced multi-billion dollar deficits and government shutdowns with the announcement in February that the state is running a nearly $2 billion surplus. Legislators are already being bombarded with suggestions for how that surplus money ought to be spent, saved or returned to the taxpayers in the form of tax cuts.

Transportation is also a hot topic in 2015 with legislative leaders and Governor Dayton all indicating that transportation funding will be a top priority. However, the extent to which new/increased tax revenue should play into the transportation funding solution vs. redirecting existing funding streams (like the general fund surplus and bonding) will be hotly debated.

In short, our elected leaders will be making decisions on critical issues impacting the vitality of your business and our regional marketplace. It’s essential that businesses be engaged and visible in this legislative process. You can get much more information on key legislative issues and keep up-to-date on developments throughout the Legislative Session by visiting our “Get Engaged” webpage.


Spring Public Affairs Forum Series

Throughout the year, Greater Mankato Growth brings together compelling speakers and business leaders to discuss timely and relevant political and policy issues over breakfast or lunch. We invite you to join us for the first three events in the 2015 Public Affairs Forum Series presented by Enventis.

Luncheon with Minnesota Revenue Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly
Monday, March 30, 2015 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Country Inn & Suites Hotel & Conference Center, 1900 Premier Drive, Mankato, MN

Luncheon with Minnesota State Demographer Dr. Susan Brower
Thursday, April 16, 2015 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Mankato City Center Hotel, 101 East Main Street, Mankato, MN

Luncheon with Minnesota State Economist Dr. Laura Kalambokidis
Thursday, May 07, 2015 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Greater Mankato Business Development Center Sakatah Trail Room, 1961 Premier Drive, Mankato, MN


Issue Highlight: Local Sales Tax

As you have likely seen in various media reports, the Cities of Mankato and North Mankato have introduced legislation at the state capitol that would authorize them to extend the period of time in which they collect their local .5% sales tax. To be clear, the proposed legislation would only extend an existing tax, it would not increase the tax or institute any new taxes. 

Since 1992 for the City of Mankato and 2008 for the City of North Mankato, our communities have used the local sales tax as a critical tool to invest in projects of regional significance that support the vitality of our region and that have helped further solidify Greater Mankato’s status as one of the strongest regional centers in the state.

The proposed sales tax extension legislation (House File 1413 and Senate File 1451) would do the following:

Mankato

  • Extend the .5% sales tax at the same rate
  • Referendum required
  • Allow for an additional $29 million in projects including:

o   Improvements to existing regional recreation facilities

o   Improvements to the flood control and levee system

o   Water Quality improvements in Blue Earth and Nicollet Counties

o   Expansion of the regional transit building

o   Emergency communications upgrades

o   Improvements to other publically owned facilities

North Mankato

  • Extend the .5% sales tax at the same rate
  • Reverse referendum
  • Allow for an additional $9 million in projects including:

o   Local share of the Highway 14/41 interchange

o   Regional parks, hiking and biking trails

o   Expansion of the North Mankato Taylor Library

o   Riverfront redevelopment

o   Lake improvements

Joint Regional Recreation

  • Allows Mankato to use an additional $25 million and for North Mankato to use up to $5 million of the new $9 million for new joint regional recreation projects (i.e. Ice sheets, swimming and aquatics center, multi-use sports bubble, indoor field house, indoor tennis courts etc.).
  • Referendum required

Over the coming weeks and months, Greater Mankato Growth and Visit Mankato’s new Sports Commission will work diligently to lead a deliberative community education and dialogue on the importance of these investments and what they will mean to our region. 

The Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. Family: Visit Mankato City Center Partnership