DFL legislators wasted no time when the session opened today, immediately introducing a billion-dollar bonding bill in the state House.
Along with solving the projected budget deficit, it’s considered the Legislature’s biggest priority this session, abecause the new projects will create jobs throughout the state.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty, though, has a lower vision for the bill’s price tag: more like $685 million.
DFL leaders had this to say about their proposal:
Coming in just under $1 billion, the bill reflects three key priorities aimed at spurring economic growth and development across the state: higher education investments, transportation and transit improvements, and clean water infrastructure. Well under Minnesota Management and Budget’s new debt service guidelines, the bill invests in regional economies and is designed to take full advantage of federal and other non-state matches.
Highlights of the 2010 House Capital Investment bill include funding for:
● Higher Education — $322 million
● Transportation and Transit — $158 million
● Economic Development and DEED requests — $126 million
● Clean Water and Wastewater Infrastructure — $60 million
Like recent bonding bills passed by the House, the 2010 proposal prioritizes “shovel-ready” projects that can get underway quickly to fully maximize the job creation impact.
“We are going to put thousands of Minnesotans back to work again through our early work on jobs in this legislative session,” said House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher.
Noting the early introduction of the bill, Rep. Hausman stated that early passage will help the state take full advantage of the upcoming construction season. A number of economic models predict that $1billion in bonding could create between 10,000 to 20,000 private and public sector jobs.
“One of the upsides to doing a bonding bill like this in a down economy is that the climate for state bonding has rarely been better, meaning taxpayer dollars can go much further this month than if we delay,” said Hausman. “It is the one bright spot in a bad economy. To forego the opportunity is foolhardy. Interest rates are low, construction bids are coming in one-third or more lower than projected, and workers hungry for jobs.”