ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 47) — $25,000,000 could be coming to southeastern Minnesota. State lawmakers will introduce a bill on Thursday to potentially generate new economic growth.
Both state senators and representatives from the area believe the eleven county region of southeastern Minnesota has a strong economy, but they see a few areas that could use a boost.
Healthcare, agriculture, manufacturing, child care and business startups are some of the key areas senator Jeremy Miller believes his proposed revolving loan fund can help out.
“The idea would be to provide capital to cities, counties, developers, small businesses, to promote economic growth and prosperity,” said Miller, (R) Winona.
The proposed bill would establish the “Southeast Minnesota Diversification Loan Fund” or “Southeast DLF” for short.
“This is very much focused on diverse growth around the Rochester growth,” said Representative Duane Sauke, (DFL) Rochester.
The “Southeast DLF” would allow cities, counties, developers and small businesses to receive loans from a $25,000,000 pool.
“The money could be used for equipment purchases, facility improvements, workforce housing, as well as child care expansion or new child care facilities,” added Miller.
The loans would be for up to 25% of the total cost of a project, limited to $500,000 per loan.
“These are small amounts that are going to be helping small businesses be developed in lots of different towns,” continued Sauke.
Sauke believes this bill would be an important step for developing areas surrounding Rochester, as the city continues to grow.
“It’s very important that the collective strength of all the towns in the area are able to be put together and start moving things forward in terms of economic development,” stated Sauke.
“I think it would be a huge economic boom for our region in southeast Minnesota if a revolving loan program was available. It would just help them spur that economic development, that economic growth and prosperity in the region,” concluded Miller.
Miller says the bill would allow different communities and counties to meet their needs in their own ways.
Both Sauke and Miller believe this is a bi-partisan issue and should have enough support to pass despite a tighter statewide budget forecast.