BLOG: Governor Dayton says State must borrow $842 Million now for a Better Minnesota


Governor Mark Dayton

On Tuesday Governor Mark Dayton revealed his $842 Million bonding proposal branding it a “Jobs Bill.”  The number is very close to the $846 Million that DFL majorities in the House and Senate approved last spring.  This is the second year in a row the Governor has pitched a massive bonding bill and some of the same customers are back for more spending.

At last night’s state of the state speech, the Governor said it “doesn’t make sense” to wait on bonding and made the case that Minnesota has the debt capacity to take on the new spending now. Back to back bonding bills in 2014 & 2015 would continue to allow the state to create jobs according to Dayton.

The Star Tribune editorial board praised the Governor’s bonding proposal calling it “well-crafted” and urged Capital Investments Committee Chair Rep Paul Torkelson, R-Hanska, to move forward the bill.

Here are some of the projects which were allocated large sums of taxpayer dollars last year, that made the Governor’s cut again this year:

Government-subsidized Housing:

2014 Approved:  $100 Million

2015 Proposed: $50 Million

Minnesota Zoo:

2014 Approved: $12 Million

2015 Proposed: $16 Million

National Sports Center in Blaine:

2014 Approved: $3.7 Million

2015 Proposed: $4.2 Million

The Met Council:

2014 Approved:  $46 Million

2015 Proposed:  $10 Million

Early Childhood Facilities:

2014 Approved:  $6 Million

2015:  Proposed:  $5 Million

Perpich Center for the Arts:

2014 Approved:  $2 Million

2015 Proposed:  $2 Million

MNSCU Colleges:

2014 Approved:  $160 Million

2015 Proposed:  $115 Million

University of Minnesota:

2014 Approved:  $119 Million

2015 Proposed:  $100 Million

Catholic Charities Dorothy Day Homeless Shelter in St. Paul:

2014 Approved: $6 Million

2015 Proposed:  $12 Million

Capitol Renovation:

2014 Approved:  $126 Million

2015 Proposed:  $20 Million

City of Red Wing for the River Town Renaissance Project:

2014 Approved:  $1.6 Million

2015 Proposed:  $4.5 Million

New projects for the 2015 proposal include:

$34.4 Million for restoration work at Ft. Snelling

$14.5 Million for the Como Park Zoo

$3.9 Million to Roseau County to construct a transportation facility

$2.1 Million for the City of Windom Emergency Services Facility Expansion

$1.4 Million for the Minnesota Humanities Center 

$1.4 Million to renovate the Owatonna Armory

With all the enticements and local earmarks, Governor Dayton has put the negotiation pressure on legislators. During last night’s speech, the Governor framed support for the bill  and the rest of his budget priorities as an act of political courage.  With tens of thousands of state employees and union jobs that would come with approving the bonding bill, saying “no” would likely also require courage.

We’ll continue to watch the progression of the Governor’s bonding bill.