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21st Century Minerals Fund bill laid over

By Danielle Cabot, Mesabi Daily News
February 28, 2007

ST. PAUL – A bill to replenish the 21st Century Minerals Fund was laid over for possible inclusion in an omnibus development package in the Senate Economic Development Budget Division on Wednesday. The committee, chaired by Sen. David Tomassoni, DFl-Chisholm, also modified a larger insurance housekeeping bill to include a 13-week extension of Ainsworth unemployment benefits, and passed that bill on to the Senate floor.

Tomassoni amended the minerals fund bill to appropriate $45 million rather than $56 million as introduced, acknowledging an $11 million allocation passed last year for the Minnesota Steel & Iron project. The money would fill a hole left by a unallotment of about $50 million in 2003 budget-balancing measures by Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Ernie Layman, director of Franconia Minerals, said that a replenished fund would attract non-ferrous business investment to the state like his own company and PolyMet….

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