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MINNESOTA

Minnesota

State Recovery Act Website: http://www.mmb.state.mn.us/recovery

Minnesota's state Recovery Act website scored 15 out of 100 possible points (ranking 34th) on Good Jobs First's 51-state study of state stimulus websites entitled Show Us the Stimulus. The score reflects the fact that the site only details the program allocations by broad and narrow categories and provides some information on agency sites. Contractor information: none.

Minnesota scored higher-45 out of 100 (ranking 16th)-on its disclosure of information specifically about highway projects funded by the Recovery Act.  The state's transportation data score was boosted by its description of projects, provision of contractor award amounts and names, listing the number of actual jobs created by each highway project, and indication that the information had been updated within the last month. Contractor information: available here and here.

For detailed scoring information, see the Minnesota appendix of Show Us the Stimulus.

The state's Recovery Act site also links to the Transparency and Accountability Project Minnesota page, which was created by Minnesota Management and Budget to track state agency spending. TAP provides a user-friendly database where taxpayers can search state agency payments to vendors. While users can search funding by source, and can therefore see how federal funds are used, there is currently no separate denotation for stimulus funds.

Coordination & Oversight

The state does not have a recovery plan document, but there is a Powerpoint presentation on reporting issues.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty named Tom Hanson, the Commissioner of Minnesota Management and Budget and his former deputy chief of staff, to serve as the state's coordinator for Recovery Act implementation. Hanson is charged with ensuring that stimulus dollars are spent effectively and transparently. The website also notes that an executive branch subcabinet has been established to help provide oversight for Recovery Act implementation, but no further information on who works on this subcabinet or what it does is provided.

Policy Debates

Chris Bell of the Minnesota branch of the American Council of the Blind has filed a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department, claiming the state is engaging in discrimination in its use of stimulus funds. According to the complaint, the state's Department of Transportation (MnDOT) does not have a required Americans with Disability Act (ADA) plan regarding stimulus spending. It also charges that the $2 million in stimulus funds MnDOT has set aside to improve ADA compliance is "woefully inadequate." The Minnesota State Council on Disability has expressed similar concerns, saying MnDOT needs to set aside millions more in stimulus funds to fix accessibility problems.

The HIRE MN coalition led an effort to pass an energy programs bill (that allocates $200 million in stimulus funds for weatherization of low-income homes and public buildings and to invest in other alternative energy and efficiency programs) that set aside $2.5 million for training low-income people and publicizing job opportunities to low-income communities and communities of color.  The bill also allows the state to give preference to disadvantaged businesses and businesses in economically disadvantaged areas.  Finally, the bill includes reporting mechanisms, which will require OES to demonstrate how these weatherization programs have benefited low-income and communities of color.  The agency will have to report its progress every three months, beginning on September 1, 2009.

The HIRE MN coalition has also condemned MnDOT's hiring practices. Minorities working on MnDOT projects have hovered around 6.4 percent since 1992 even though minority populations have increased. Despite a hiring goal of 6 percent for women, females working on transportation projects have declined from 8.4 percent in 1996 to a 17-year low of 4.1 percent in 2008. According to MnDOT contract compliance specialists, between 2007 and 2008, at least 7 contractors failed to show "good faith efforts" towards meeting hiring goals.

Last updated on: 14 October, 2009

Quick Facts

Population:
5,220,393

Median Household Income:
$55,802

Unemployment Rate:
8.0%

Poverty Rate:
9.5%

Estimated Recovery Act Funding:
$4.4 billion

Resources

The Minnesota Budget Project has blogged about ARRA and stimulus-related issues. One post pointed to a contradiction in Gov. Pawlenty's planned use of Medicaid stimulus funds.

The legislature's fiscal staff prepared a summary of major fiscal stabilization funds the state is receiving.

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