House DFLers propose bonding bill bigger than Dayton's

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A day after Gov. Mark Dayton proposed a plan for some $750 million in bonding, House leaders unveiled a similar bill Tuesday that ups the ante by $50 million.

Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, told the Pioneer Press that the proposal will continue to move the state out of a recession, while at the same time taking advantage of low interest rates.

The AP quotes Hausman, chair of the House Capital Improvement Committee, as saying that many of the projects have been "standing in the queue too long."

All told, the House bill calls for $858 million in construction, with $802 million that would require state borrowing. Dayton's proposal called for $812 million in construction and renovation, with $750 coming from bonds.

Though practically mirror images, the Star Tribune does point out some differences between the two proposals. For instance, Dayton wanted $20 million for the renovation of Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis, which the House's measure does not call for. Similarly, the House proposes only half of the $10 million Dayton wants for the Minnesota Zoo.

Finally Hausman, who is something of a bonding sage around the Capitol, tells MPR that the bill is designed to get a "super majority," meaning she'll try to wrangle Republicans on board. Republican Greg Davids of Preston gave props to Hausman, saying, "I think it's a pretty good bill."

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Dayton signs $496M bonding bill

Gov. Mark Dayton signed a $496 million bonding bill Friday that will result in thousands of construction jobs in Minnesota and includes a long list of public works projects, the DFL governor said. Projects include college campus buildings, flood mitigation, roads and bridges and a $44 million start on the renovation of the State Capitol building.

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The borrowing plan, approved by a 45-22 vote Monday night, would use $496 million for public works projects, higher education and state Capitol renovations. It also calls to spend an additional $50 million on unnamed Department of Employment and Economic Development projects. House lawmakers approved a similar measure early Monday afternoon. They can either accept the Senate version or the differences will be negotiated in a conference committee.