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House committee to revisit Mayo's request for state money

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The House Taxes Committee plans to take another look at Mayo Clinic's request for nearly $600 million to support its Destination Medical Center proposal -- a $6 billion, 20-year plan to better accommodate its patients in Rochester, the Associated Press reports.

The famed medical center complex, Minnesota's largest private employer, vows to invest $3.5 billion of its own money and attract $2.1 billion of private investment in exchange for more than half-a-billion dollars in public funding.

However, the measure met some resistance last month when the panel's chairwoman blasted Mayo's request.

State Rep. Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington, told Minnesota Public Radio that she's concerned that the funding request would give Mayo and Rochester special treatment that no other community receives.

"I want them to know that we're not saying, 'Over our dead bodies.' We're just saying that if the Legislature loves this, we're going to have to figure out a way to pay for it like anything else around here," Lenczewski said.

Supporters of the multi-billion dollar project say funding for roads, transit and other infrastructure improvements is an essential piece of the ambitious expansion plan.

"If lawmakers have different ideas that can finance the needed infrastructure over the next 20 years and keep pace with the level of Mayo and other private investment that we're suggesting in our plan, than we're certainly open to working alternatives," Lisa Clark, the administrator for the system's Destination Medical Center plan, told MPR.

The Mayo Clinic bill’s House sponsor, Rochester DFLer Kim Norton, and other legislative leaders are reportedly working with Mayo officials to form other possible financing ideas.

Click here, for more information on Mayo's proposal.

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