IRRRB Commissioner Tony Sertich to testify on negative impact of conference committee proposals

May 04, 2011

EVELETH, Minnesota – Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board Commissioner (IRRRB) testifies Thursday to a Minnesota Legislature conference committee regarding the impact that proposed language in the conference committee would have on economic development in northeastern Minnesota. 

Senate File 887 proposes taking up to $60 million from the IRRRB’s Douglas J. Johnson Economic Trust Fund for state purposes. The DJJ, which is the largest funding source for the IRRRB, was created in 1977 to support projects that stimulate employment and encourage diversification of northeastern Minnesota’s economy. A portion of the Taconite Production Tax, paid in lieu of property taxes by Iron Range mining companies, is directed to the fund each year. Interest gained on the fund is used annually to provide loans for economic development projects. 

Sertich at 8:30 a.m., Thursday, May 5, 2011, testifies to the conference committee on SF887 on the effect of the proposed legislation. 

“To use any portion of these funds for state purposes would be akin to diverting local property tax dollars in your districts away from their intended local jurisdictions,” Sertich states to conference committee members. “I know of no other community, or region, that is also being subjected to this treatment of the diversion of their local business property taxes to the state budget. This cut would negatively impact our mission to create jobs in Minnesota.” 

Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) is a state economic development agency headquartered in Northeastern Minnesota whose vision is to promote and invest in business, community and workforce development for the betterment of the region.