Dayton Offers Support to Laid Off Workers in Int'l Falls Visit
Posted at: 10/09/2013 8:56 AM
| Updated at: 10/10/2013 10:16 AM
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton traveled to International Falls on Wednesday to support hundreds of workers laid off there this month.
The layoffs at Boise Inc. came in response to a decrease in product demand, and a company spokesperson said 265 workers are now unemployed. That means $21 million in payroll will not make it into the local economy.
Governor Dayton said state agencies are helping displaced workers get unemployment benefits and training grants, but he said it is only a start to the recovery.
“These are tough times especially for a community like this that the company has been so much a part of their existence for a century,” Dayton said.
The impact on the Northland communities of Koochiching County was hard to express for Commissioner Wade Pavleck.
“To say it's hurt the local community is an understatement. That's 40 percent of the workforce. Those are extremely high-paying jobs, and that is the main industry in Koochiching County,” Pavleck said.
He hopes the governor will support state funding for local improvement projects. He said the projects could help diversify the local economy. For example sewer treatment in the Voyageur's Park Basin could support failing tourism.
“The resorts couldn't operate anymore. They can't build a treatment system large enough to handle that effluent so they have been put in a position of hauling their waste everyday, and they can't continue financially,” Pavleck said.
He said the sewer treatment would protect the environment but also create construction jobs.
“Sewer does spur development. I've got developers waiting to build, but they're not going to do it without sewer,” Pavleck said.
Pavleck said local government is putting up money for projects like that one, but he said only state bonding money can make it happen. Dayton said he will support the sewer project and improvements at the Northeast Regional Corrections Center.
Local leaders were optimistic the bonding projects would patch the local economy, but the state legislature may not hand out bonding money until late 2014.