My top priorities this legislative session have been promoting job growth, economic development and working to help make our government more efficient and effective. Though legislation to promote these things isn't always exciting enough to make the headlines, we have made significant progress in these areas, and I want to make you aware of several bills that will help improve the economic opportunities for greater Minnesota.

The first bill, SF2355, which I am a co-author of, expands the state's Angel Investor Tax credit. It currently allows a 25 percent tax credit to anyone who invests a minimum of $10,000 in a startup or emerging company focused on high technology or new proprietary technology. The bill increases the tax credit to 40 percent for investments in qualifying companies in Greater Minnesota.

The second bill, SF 1957, designates a single agency as the central point of contact for businesses which otherwise have to engage with several state agencies in a complicated and time-consuming process for acquiring necessary permits. The single agency would manage and coordinate the entire effort. This will help speed up the process and help start and grow Minnesota businesses.

Next, I authored a bill, SF 1869, which provides a tax credit to out-state employers who hire interns from Minnesota public or private colleges or universities. The bill states that the purpose of the program is "to employ and provide valuable experience to students and to foster long-term relations between the students and greater Minnesota employers." This will help provide paid internship opportunities for college students in greater Minnesota and, I hope, lead to full-time jobs.

Finally, I am the author of a bill, SF1715, which funds the Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure grant program. The program provides up to 50 percent of capital costs for the development of industrial parks in greater Minnesota. This legislation is a good example of public/private partnerships to encourage economic development.

All four bills are making their way through the legislative process. They are good first steps to encouraging business development in our part of the state, and I am hopeful that all four will pass the Legislature and be signed by the governor.

Please feel free to get in touch whenever you have comments or questions about the work we do here at the Capitol. Email or call (651) 296-5649 or write to 320 State Capitol, St. Paul, MN. 55103.