Iron Range board rebates $9 million in tax money to taconite plants

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Taconite companies are getting $9 million in tax payments returned to them to help pay for upgrades at plants on the Iron Range. The Duluth News Tribune reports the rebates will be put toward half a dozen improvement projects that are in the works.

The number of taconite jobs on the Range will shrink in January, when Cliffs Natural Resources implements 125 job cuts at its plants in Babbitt and Silver Bay. Sagging prices for iron ore pellets were a factor in those cutbacks. But industry analysts told both MPR and the Mesabi Daily News last month they doubt the cutbacks will become a trend on the Range.

The taconite tax paid by the plants funds a host of economic development projects through the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, which has been around for 70 years. The board's commissioner, Tony Sertich, told a group in Ely last month that the IRRRB has leveraged $400 million worth of investments in the last two years.

On Thursday the Board also approved a plan aimed at attracting more movie production to the Range by rebating some of costs incurred by film crews.

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