As lawmakers put together their supplemental budget bills, consideration has been given to a couple of provisions that MADA supported during the 2015 Session that have not yet been enacted:
"Getting to Work" Program
Last year, the Minnesota Asset Building Coalition, a coalition of social service providers, came forward with the “Getting to Work” bill, which appropriated $4.5 million to the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to distribute through a competitive grant process to fifteen nonprofit organizations that provide vehicles, vehicle repair, or vehicle loans to eligible workers and job seekers. The goal of the program is to help low-income Minnesotans have access to a reliable automobile to help them maintain employment.
This year, the Senate has included a scaled-back version in its omnibus supplemental budget bill, which allocates $300,000 to seed the "Getting to Work" program. MADA supports this initiative, as it reinforces that automobiles are a critical component for individuals seeking to better their lives and stay employed.
Electric Vehicle Incentives
Senator John Marty (DFL-St. Paul) and Representative Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington) are both attempting to promote the sale of electric vehicles, but their diverging strategies to do so have prevented any forward progress. Last session, the House passed an electric vehicle rebate as part of House File 843, its Omnibus Jobs and Energy Bill, which was never enacted. Representative Garofalo has been hoping to revive a conference committee on H.F. 843 in order to bring back the rebates, but a number of other controversial provisions in the bill have prevented the Senate from conceding to Garofalo's plan.
Knowing of the opposition in the Senate to re-opening the conference committee, Senator Marty attempted to move a new electric vehicle bill in 2016, Senate File 2405. However, opposition to the rebate provision from his colleagues on the Senate Environment Committee caused Senator Marty to scale the bill back to only allow for Xcel Energy and Minnesota Power to plan their own electrical vehicle promotions. The bill awaits a vote on the Senate floor, but no action has been taken on the House companion.