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Senate unveils $1.16 billion bonding bill proposal

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The Minnesota Senate outlined a $1.16 billion bonding bill proposal Monday, a massive plan that would launch a variety of construction projects around the state, from roads and bridges improvements to university building renovations, its backers say.

The Senate's bill would use $846 million in general obligation bonds and an additional $200 million in cash from the state's budget surplus. The Senate says its bill will create more than 28,000 jobs in the state, according to a news release about the bill.

Requests for state money for $3 billion worth of capital improvement projects have been pouring in to legislative leaders from all around the state, the Minnesota Management and Budget Office estimates.

“We have had to make some tough decisions about a number of worthy projects, but I am confident we have the best possible bill that improves the quality of life in Minnesota through investments in five key areas: business and economic development, housing and infrastructure, education, transportation and public safety and corrections,” Sen. LeRoy Stumpf, DFL-Plummer, said in the release.

Here's an outline of where the money would go:

– $411 million for economic development projects, including roads and bridges
– $298 million for state colleges and universities
– $80 million for new housing around the state

For a complete breakdown, including specific projects, the Senate has released a spreadsheet on its Build.Mn website.

The Associated Press notes that Democrats in the DFL-controlled House and Senate need some Republican votes to meet a three-fifths majority to pass the bonding bill.

“What you are seeing from Democrats today is a cry for help,” Rep. Matt Dean, Republican lead on the House Capital Investment committee, said in a statement Monday, according to Politics in Minnesota. “It’s kinda like they went to Cub for a loaf of bread and got stuck in the candy aisle. We’re just here to remind them where the bread’s at.”

Sen. Carla Nelson, R-Rochester, sent out a few tweets in support of some of the items in the Senate's bonding bill.

The House rolled out its $975 million bonding bill proposal at the beginning of April. House Capital Investment Committee Chair Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, unveiled the proposal, but called it "inadequate" for the state's needs. The Associated Press says the House has yet to pass its version of the bill, but could vote on it this week.

The Star Tribune says leaders from the House and Senate ultimately will meet to merge the two plans.

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