Dayton signs Mille Lacs economic stimulus into law
The supplemental budget bill Gov. Mark Dayton signed Wednesday contains two provisions for the struggling Mille Lacs tourism industry. Those provisions are a $300,000 grant to the Mille Lacs Tourism Council to promote the area, and $3.651 million...
The supplemental budget bill Gov. Mark Dayton signed Wednesday contains two provisions for the struggling Mille Lacs tourism industry.
Those provisions are a $300,000 grant to the Mille Lacs Tourism Council to promote the area, and $3.651 million for Mille Lacs County to award in grants and loans to businesses around the lake. During a conference call Wednesday, Dayton talked about the importance of the Mille Lacs area economic relief program and highlighted it as a glimmer of bipartisanship among Minnesota lawmakers.
"The Legislature, to its credit, in a bipartisan way took some very important action to provide relief to Mille Lacs," he said.
He also pointed out a provision in the as-yet-unsigned tax bill that would set up a property tax abatement program, in addition to the funding contained in the budget bill.
However, Dayton took a step back from a $3.5 million bonding request by the Department of Natural Resources to build a facility on Mille Lacs. Dayton initially proposed bonding money for the project in January. The idea failed to gain traction amongst lawmakers or the public, he said.
"It really wasn't supported by either the House or the Senate," he said. "I'm told that quite a number of the residents on the lake were opposed to it as well."
The Mille Lacs locals didn't like how much the building cost and felt a DNR center there would be too "bureaucratic," Dayton added.
"I think it's back to the drawing boards on that one," Dayton said. "I don't see that that will be added to the special session."
The smaller-scale new DNR Mille Lacs initiative already operating will keep up monitoring efforts at Mille Lacs, Dayton said.
"The lake will continue to get the highest level of attention from DNR and from myself, that it deserves," he said.
ZACH KAYSER may be reached at 218-855-5860 or Zach.Kayser@brainerddispatch.com . Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ZWKayser .