Ad Spot

Bonding bill drawn up, but Monday vote still not assured

By Brian Bakst

Minnesota lawmakers could vote on a construction borrowing bill next week after months of haggling over one, a key lawmaker said Thursday.

Senate Capital Investment Committee Chair David Senjem said a $1.365 billion draft plan is almost ready for proofreading and presentation to the legislative caucuses.

He said it is similar in composition to earlier proposals, with a mix of projects from around the state that would be financed through long-term borrowing.

Senjem, R-Rochester, said it’s critical that the Legislature get it done in a Monday special session, which Gov. Tim Walz called due to his extension of emergency powers tied to the coronavirus.

“The last chance in some number of months, perhaps a couple of years, that we can do a significant infrastructure bill given obviously the pending budget deficit,” Senjem said. “We will never be able to come back next year and do a bonding bill of this size.”

He said it was developed in consultation with top Republicans and DFLers on the House and Senate bonding committees, with the agreement notched earlier in the week. Senjem cautioned that it’s up to legislative leaders to decide the next move.

House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Zimmerman, cracked the door to a bill last week when he said the construction package was no longer tied to Walz relinquishing his authority. However, some members of his caucus don’t want to add new costs to the state and want any debt service to be paid for through savings elsewhere.

“Our goal is to make sure we are not increasing the deficit, so we’d like to have some spending offsets,” Daudt said in an interview Thursday evening.

Daudt said his members also want to pass a tax plan that would help businesses with capital expenses for investment in new equipment.

Passage is far from assured because borrowing plans require three-fifths support to prevail, meaning buy-in from the majority and minority parties in both the House and the Senate is essential.

Bonding bills are typically passed in even-numbered years. Lawmakers failed to get it done during the regular session that adjourned in May or four special sessions that have occurred since.

Walz, a DFLer, told reporters Thursday that a bonding bill would be an economic boost at a time when COVID-19 has dealt the state a financial body blow.

“Certainly the Senate I think has made a good faith effort to get a good bonding bill done,” Walz said. “We know that it’s stimulus. We know that it’s job creation. We know that it works across the state.”

News

‘Vaccinations are the endgame’: State prepares to roll out first rounds of COVID-19 vaccines

News

3rd major COVID-19 vaccine shown to be effective and cheaper

Mower County

Tuesday morning snow showers could bring 1 to 2 inches

Local Government

City/County food drive has record setting year

Mower County

Deer testing finds additional cases of Chronic Waste

Mower County

Salvation Army in need of bell-ringers

Business

Winners from annual Chamber meeting humbled

Mower County

Prime Time Piano: Pianist Plano shines with Austin’s gem

News

Minnesota man enters plea in police station fire amid unrest

Law Enforcement

Law enforcement taking educational approach to new COVID restrictions

Mower County

A gift for further discovery

Crime, Courts & Emergencies

Lyle man pleads guilty in drunk driving accident

Crime, Courts & Emergencies

Austin man pleads not guilty to drug sales, theft in Olmsted

Business

Hy-Vee prepares to feed 80K people in need with its Thanksgiving meals

News

Dylan papers, including unpublished lyrics, sell for $495K

News

Study: Motorcycle rally sparked COVID-19 cases in next state

Albert Lea

MPPOA presents new car and $25K to Arik Matson and family

Mower County

About 400 COVID-19 cases active in county as numbers continue increasing

News

Pfizer seeking emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine in US

Mower County

Prairie revived after pollution cleanup along Cedar River

News

No problems reported for new driver registration system

News

Mayo Clinic: 905 staff diagnosed with COVID in past 2 weeks

Mower County

Hormel Foundation to donate $10.6M to community non-profits

Health

Minnesota shuts more businesses as COVID-19 spread soars