Gov. Dayton to propose $1B bonding bill for public worksby Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio,
Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Gov. Mark Dayton will propose a bill Monday that aims to jump start public works projects across Minnesota.
Dayton said his $1 billion bonding bill proposal will be split in half. He said half will be projects that he wants, and that he'll leave the other $500 million for the Legislature to select.
The state typically approves major capital projects during even-year sessions of the Legislature, but Dayton said Minnesota has a relatively light debt burden compared to other states and can afford to launch a bonding program to help the economy.
"One national study says that for a $1 billion bonding bill, and you put it into projects that are ready to go, which these will be, you can add up to 28,000 jobs in the private sector," Dayton said.
Dayton said the bill will help add jobs in the struggling construction center. But Republican House Majority Leader Matt Dean is skeptical of the plan. He said it's not the GOP majority's top priority.
"We have a big spending problem and a budget problem and it's the wrong time to take out the credit card right now, particularly for construction projects that might not happen literally for years from now," Dean said.
Dean has not completely ruled out acting on a bonding bill this year, but said the House will try to free up money for new projects by cancelling public works projects that have already been approved but haven't been started yet.
Tom Scheck covers politics and government for MPR News.