One of the first bills introduced in the 2003 Minnesota Legislative session was H.F. 3, creating what is now known as rural Job Opportunity Building Zones, or JOBZ. Announced after its passage as Gov. Tim Pawlentyʼs “marquee” rural economic development initiative, the program partitioned most of the state outside of the seven-county metropolitan area into 10 JOBZ zones and hundreds of JOBZ subzones. And it is at the subzone level, which generally consist of a few dozen acres, where qualified businesses are encouraged to develop, expand or relocate to, with significant tax exemptions and credits.
The model from which the program developed was an adaptation of similar programs in both Michigan and Pennsylvania, where qualified businesses that created an appropriate number of new jobs and/or made qualified capital investments, were exempted from the corporate income or property tax for a decade. The Minnesota JOBZ program has similar features targeting these tax exemptions for 12 years; and in some cases tax credits, to businesses that create jobs and invest capital in designated zones throughout rural Minnesota.
With a desire to evaluate the overall impact of such a program on Minnesotaʼs rural economy, the Center for Rural Policy and Development is working in concert with the Department of Employment and Economic Development to establish this evaluative framework. This report is the first step toward that end.
To read the full report, please click on the download link above.