Pawlenty vetoes jobs bill over Xcel center loan provisionby Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio,
Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
Governor Tim Pawlenty has vetoed an economic development bill that included a provision to forgive nearly $33 million on the loan for St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center.
St. Paul, Minn. — Pawlenty says the majority of the bill -- which includes business grants, job training and tourism promotion -- was acceptable.
But he didn't like the city of St. Paul threatening to cut police and fire protection while planning to build a new ice rink with the money saved from the loan.
At a Thursday news conference, Pawlenty criticized Democrats for including the provision and hinted at the coming veto.
"Unfortunately they just ignored our advice," Pawlenty said. "I vetoed it last year. I think we told them to take it out of a bill the year before that. And so we offered them some compromise suggestions this year to say if you're really that insistent on forgiving the loan to the city of St. Paul, could you at least get some expectations from them about spending the proceeds on something that's a higher priority, like police and fire."
The bill's House author, DFL Representative Tom Rukavina of Virginia, said it's unfortunate the governor would veto a bill that retrains workers when the state is facing record unemployment. He said the conference committee will rework the bill.
Tim Pugmire covers politics and state government for MPR News.