Members of IMPACT 20/20 recently spent the day at the State Capitol engaging law makers about the issues impacting economic prosperity and growth in Northwest Minnesota.

    IMPACT 20/20 is an influential group of Northwest Minnesota leaders representing diverse interests and working together for the region’s economic success. Established in 2008, IMPACT 20/20 members have worked collaboratively to improve economic conditions in the region by focusing on four key areas: education, workforce, broadband, and housing. The goal of the visit was to highlight issues in these key areas, and offer legislative solutions to help grow the economy of Northwest Minnesota.

    On Thursday, February 21, IMPACT 20/20 not only raised awareness for these issues, but offered specific solutions for these lawmakers to consider. The following legislative actions were proposed:

    • Support for the base budget of $70 million in the biennium for the Border-to-Border Broadband Fund that would extend and improve broadband networks in the hardest-to-reach places in Minnesota. Additionally, IMPACT 20/20 supports continued efforts through the Office of Broadband Development and the Governor’s Broadband Taskforce.

    • Deliberation to create: a licensed Group Child Care option for up to 30 children with multiple caregivers, a loan repayment/forgiveness program to include degrees in early childhood and education, and a state tax exemption for income earned for the care and education of children.

    • Provide $10 million in matching funds for communities that create and resource a Local Housing Trust Fund.

    • Support for investing $20 million in the Workforce Home Ownership Program, which seeks to double workforce homeownership opportunities in Minnesota.

    • Support for investing $50 million for a state housing tax credit to bolster affordable housing development.

    • Provide Northwest Minnesota’s Workforce Centers with an additional $360,000 to employ six full-time staff shared across multiple school districts to provide career advising for high school students.

    “The IMPACT 20/20 members had a very productive day speaking with the region’s representatives, senators and chairs of sub-committees,” said Northwest Minnesota Foundation’s Chief Strategy Officer, Karen White. “It’s important we raise awareness and offer legislative solutions that will help our region grow.”

    For more information about IMPACT 20/20’s policy initiatives, you can request a copy of the 2019 Economic Priorities booklet that was provided to legislators by contacting Kari at  karic@nwmf.org or calling 218-759-2057. The booklet may also be accessed online via the link that can be found on the Northwest Minnesota Foundation’s homepage nwmf.org.