WEEKLY AVERAGE OF WORKERS IN THE 14 “LINE 3 COUNTIES” WHO HAVE FILED UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE CLAIMS IS NOW ABOVE 24% AT TIME WHEN LINE 3 WOULD IMMEDIATELY CREATE NEEDED JOBS AND TAX REVENUE
(BEMIDJI, MINN) As the State of Minnesota budget deficit gets worse, the number of people needing economic help in Northern Minnesota has increased for the 10th week in a row. The latest information from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) shows the average percentage of workers in the 14 “Line 3 Counties” who have filed unemployment insurance claims continues is now 24.1%. The Minnesota Management and Budget office has released updated information that shows the state is facing a $4.7 billion potential budget shortfall. The Line 3 project will invest more than $2 billion in private sector dollars that would immediately create thousands of jobs and millions in new tax revenue at such a critically important time for Minnesota.
“Not only does Minnesota need to find a way to get people back to work, we also need to find a way to generate tax revenue to fill the growing hole that COVID-19 has created in the state budget,” said Peter Nelson, President and owner of Integrated Process Solutions, a full-service electrical engineering and construction firm with headquarters in Fosston. “Our unemployment challenge gets worse each week and the state’s budget hole is also getting bigger. Line 3 is the only way Minnesota can immediately begin to change this. Thankfully this project is ready to go and the only thing we need now is leadership from Governor Walz to make sure construction starts this year.”
The Line 3 project has been under review by agencies and regulators for more than five years. If construction is able to start this year, Enbridge will invest approximately $2.6 billion and the project will immediately create more than 4,000 good paying, union jobs. Line 3 would generate an estimated $35 million in new tax revenue for Minnesota in its first year of service using the replaced pipeline. To prepare for construction, Enbridge has already spent more than $80 million in local communities and to help train tribal members for construction jobs.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s decision to hold a contested case hearing on key permits for the project means the earliest construction could start would be mid-November of this year. In June, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted 4-1 to deny requests from the Minnesota Department of Commerce and other project opponents to reconsider its approval of both the certificate of need and the route permit. The PUC has refiled the certificate of need and route permit to continue the overall permitting process for the project.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz is now considering if he will have the Minnesota Department of Commerce again file a legal challenge to the PUC decisions. If any additional legal challenges are filed by the Walz Administration, it would likely create additional delays resulting in construction work being put off until 2021 at the earliest.
“Making sure Line 3 starts this year sends an important message that Minnesota is taking the right steps to make sure we start to recover economically,” Nelson said. “We can immediately know that people will have jobs and communities will see new dollars being spent in stores and restaurants. Minnesota policy makers will also know there will be new tax revenue to help balance the budget crisis as soon as the line is done. There is no other way this can happen without Governor Walz saying ‘NO’ to any more appeals and ‘YES’ to getting Line 3 approved as soon as possible.”
Latest average unemployment insurance information for Line 3 Counties as of July 30th
Percentage of people filing for unemployment insurance as a share of the 2019 available labor force
Data provided by Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
Contact: Susan Goudge
Susan@Minnesotansforline3.com | 218-556-3617