Minnesota lawmakers are pushing a new grant program that would give government rebates and bonuses to companies that upgrade facilities and add new jobs. The proposed $18.5-million “Minnesota Job Creation Fund” is a feature of an economic development package set for consideration by a House budget committee today (THU). The program includes awards of up to $2-million to eligible companies engaged in the manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, information technology, finance and insurance industries. The companies have to commit to spending a minimum amount on construction or capital projects and add a certain number of employees to their payroll each year. The grants would depend on the size of the expansion, number of new employees and worker pay. Positions paying at least $45,000 annually could fetch companies awards of $3,000 per worker.