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Keep pushing to create jobs in Minnesota

From working as a union leader negotiating contracts for carpenters on the Iron Range, to serving as chairman of the Senate Taxes Committee, my life has been dedicated to putting people to work. With record numbers of Minnesotans receiving an unemployment check, and for the thousands of others who have given up looking for a job, my kind of experience and commitment is what we need in our next governor.

Recently my job creation bill passed its first hurdle when the Senate Business, Industry and Jobs Committee passed the bill and sent it to the Senate Finance Committee. Highlights of the bill include:

- An "Angel Investor" investment tax credit: A 25 percent tax credit for investments in a qualified high technology, biotechnology or medical device, or green manufacturing business.

- Minnesota Business Investment Company tax credit: This creates a non-refundable tax credit against the insurance premiums tax for insurance companies that invest in Minnesota small business development.

- Historic structure rehabilitation credit: A tax credit equal to 20 percent of the total costs of rehabilitation is offered for historic structure rehabilitation projects. Qualified properties must be either certified historic structures or structures in a certified historic district.

- Compact Development Tax Increment Finance district: Incents downtown redevelopment as opposed to continued urban sprawl.

- Mall of America expansion: Includes provisions to allow the second phase of the MOA construction to begin. It is estimated that this project alone would put 7,000 Minnesotans back to work.

I authored many of these provisions in 2009 with the hopes of jumpstarting Minnesota's economy. Unfortunately in deliberations with the House and the governor they didn't make it into the final omnibus tax bill. This year House leaders are taking our unemployment problem seriously and have indicated a willingness to work with me to send these proposals to the governor for his signature into law.

Economic development is not easy, but I am a leader who rolls up his sleeves and doesn't give up. The next governor must make job creation and economic development our state's top priority. The security of our families and our state is on the line and we cannot get Minnesota moving in the right direction until we get people back to work.

As governor, I will use my negotiating skills, knowledge of tax policy, and go anywhere, any time to create jobs in Minnesota. I am the experienced leader who can bring people together to build a stronger Minnesota.

Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, is a member of the Minnesota Senate and chairman of the Senate Taxes Committee. He is also seeking the DFL endorsement for governor.