Job training a casualty in GOP jobs budget bill

Republicans in the Minnesota House released Monday a Jobs and Economic Development budget bill that makes deep cuts to job training and uses one-time money to help balance the state's budget.

The proposal spends $60 million from an economic development fund for the Iron Range. It also takes $13 million from an unemployment insurance contingency account.

Rep. Bob Gunther, R-Fairmont, said his committee put forward the best plan he could in light of the state's budget situation. But he said Minnesota needs to put more money in economic development to compete with surrounding states.

"You take Wisconsin; it has 48 job incentive programs that steals business from Minnesota," Gunther said. "We have 12 and one of them is neutered."

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Democrats say Republicans aren't creating one job in the "jobs bill." They also argue that now is not the time to make cuts to workforce training.

Rep. Tim Mahoney, DFL-St. Paul, said the bill takes away a lot of money that helps businesses hire people in Minnesota.

"They took all of that funding and either eliminated it or cut it very, very deeply," Mahoney said. "They ran on jobs. I can't find where they're helping jobs."

The budget bill is a part of a larger plan put forward by House Republicans that erases the projected deficit by cutting spending. Gov. Mark Dayton is proposing to raise income taxes on Minnesota's top earners as part of his budget solution.