Gubernatorial candidates talk bonding bills at debateby Mark Zdechlik, Minnesota Public Radio
Brooklyn Park, Minn. — The three candidates for governor debated again on Wednesday in Brooklyn Park.
Democrat Mark Dayton is proposing a billion dollar bonding bill next year which he says could create nearly 30,000 jobs. Dayton, along with Republican Tom Emmer and Independence Party candidate Tom Horner, talked transportation issues during a 90-minute debate sponsored by a variety of transportation interests.
Dayton said it makes sense to borrow because the need for road work comes when interest rates are low.
"There's both the short-term benefit of a billion-dollar bonding bill in a state that has a gross state product of $263 billion," Dayton said. "I mean that's not going to tip the scales in terms of the economy recovery but it's going to make a significant contribution; 28,500 jobs through a billion dollars of public investment is a good deal for the people of Minnesota."
Horner is proposing a $400 million bonding bill. He criticized Dayton for a list of ambitious spending proposals.
"That's not nearly enough to pay for the billions and billions and billions of dollars that you're promising in new spending," Horner said. "And there aren't enough bonding bills in the world that are going to help small businesses if they're not in business because they're having to pay rates that are at the top of the nation."
Emmer, who's voted against every bonding bill as a state legislator, said he supports bonding for transportation projects but said the bonding bill is often bogged down with unrelated projects.
He said the bills should be used only for long-term projects and that they are instead used for political purposes.
"They should not be used to pass policies like a policy on greenhouse emissions that would not otherwise get through the legislative process," Emmer said. "They should not be used to give out a Christmas tree full of gifts to convince career politicians to give their votes in other areas where they might not otherwise provide them."
The next scheduled debate for the gubernatorial candidates is on Thursday in Golden Valley. The TwinWest Chamber of Commerce is hosting the event that begins at 8 a.m.