Legislative Update: Governor Dayton signs budget bill with broadband and Angel Tax Credit funding, pocket-vetoes tax bill

June 7, 2016

MHTA — Since the Legislative Session ended last month, there has been a lot of discussion around its chaotic conclusion and whether or not Governor Dayton would sign the supplemental budget and tax bills.

Last week, the governor signed the supplemental budget, which contained $35 million in funding for the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant program and updated the state’s broadband speed goals to reflect the recommendations of the Governor’s Broadband Task Force: by no later than 2022 all Minnesota businesses and homes have access to high-speed broadband that provides minimum download speeds of at least 25 megabits per second and minimum upload speeds of at least 3 megabits per second. Also by 2026, it is a state goal that all Minnesota businesses and homes have access to at least one provider of broadband with download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second and upload speeds of at least 20 megabits per second.

To date, the program has received $30 million in funding, which leveraged $41 million in private investments, and helped connect 9,322 households and 936 businesses to broadband.

The supplemental budget bill also included a one-year extension of the Angel Tax Credit funded at $10 million. Without this funding, the credit would have ended once this year’s funding was exhausted.

The Angel Tax Credit is an important mechanism for encouraging investment in startups across Minnesota, and MHTA will continue to advocate for a continued extension of the program and increase in funding in future sessions.

These were two of MHTA’s top legislative priorities.

Yesterday, the governor allowed the tax bill to expire, effectively pocket-vetoing the bill. The governor has 14 days from the end of session to decide whether or not to sign or veto legislation. In the second year of the biennium, if the governor does not act on a bill, it does not become law.

Governor Dayton said he would have signed the bill, but the legislation contained a drafting error that would have cost the state $101 million.

Legislative leaders and the governor are likely to begin meetings to discuss a potential special session on taxes, bonding, and transportation.

MHTA will continue to monitor developments at the Capitol and post updates at MHTA.org and in our Tech Tuesday newsletter.