Minneapolis mayoral candidate Don Samuels rolled out his plan for fostering economic development in the city at a news conference this morning outside of the Smack Shack in the North Loop.
If elected, City Council Member Samuels (5th Ward) said he would focus on five key areas to keep the city’s economy headed in the right direction.
First, he’d focus on making more investments in workforce development by expanding the city’s STEP-UP Summer Jobs program with a goal of matching 3,000 youth with summer work; push for the reintroduction of building trades training for middle and high school students; and work with area colleges and workforce centers to align curriculum to the needs of the city’s businesses.
Second, he’d establish a City of Lakes Investment Fund with money from the state and downtown businesses. The fund would provide targeted grants and loans to small and medium-sized businesses interested in launching in Minneapolis.
Third, Samuels would invest in streetcars, push for expediting the Bottineau Light Rail Transit line and other infrastructure to make it easier for people to get around the city.
Fourth, he’d continue to be a steward of the city’s finances to reduce the burden on taxpayers.
The fifth focus would be on government redesign. He’d make sure the city’s plans to deploy SUV trucks on medical calls instead of fire trucks becomes a reality. That could save the city $7 million a year, he said.
Samuels said his administration would also put an end to tax-increment financing (TIF) and create a new initiative called Project Green Light, which would allow veteran developers to pass through the city’s regulatory process in an expedited fashion.
“This will not only alleviate the burden on the already overworked licensing division, but also help proven businesses get started on investing and creating jobs for our people,” he said.
He would also work with local business leaders to come up with strategies to help the city express a more business friendly tone when working with developers and business owners.