Bill aims to entice investors out of Metro

Published 12:04 pm Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Albert Lea’s Rep. Rich Murray is proposing a new bill that aims to increase the tax incentives for people who invest in greater Minnesota businesses.

Murray said though Minnesota already has an angel investment tax credit — an incentive for investors who put money into startup technology companies — very little of the benefits are coming to places outside of the metropolitan area.

“Right now the metro has an advantage,” said Murray, a Republican. “In greater Minnesota we lack access to some of the angel investors.”

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He said in 2010, 94 percent of the angel investment tax credit money went to the metro, while only 6 percent came to greater Minnesota.

Though those numbers improved slightly in 2011 — when 13 percent went to greater Minnesota — he hopes people see there is still a disparity.

Murray said the program allows people who invest in startups to receive a 25 percent tax credit given out through the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

His bill aims to increase that tax credit for investors in greater Minnesota businesses. The bill gives a 50 percent tax credit, though he does not know if something that high would get approved.

“I want something that’s reasonable,” Murray said.

He doesn’t want to take away from the success the metro area has had, but he said he wants to get people talking about the disparity seen outside the Cities.

The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities is working on getting a senator to carry a similar bill.

Murray said this is one of several ideas he and other legislators are putting together to improve the Minnesota jobs economy.

Other ideas include streamlining regulations and looking at training for the unemployed.

“The best thing government can do is help create a better jobs environment,” he said. “Government can’t create jobs, but it can improve the environment.”

Murray said there should be more discussion about the bill in the next week.