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House passes $567 million updated bonding bill

The bill adds roughly $10 million to the U of M’s allocation, which ups it to $64 million; it takes about $12 million from the MnSCU system, dropping its total to $132 million.

GOP Rep. Larry Howes, chief author of the House bonding bill, listens to debate while his bill was heard on the floor on Monday.

The House passed a $567 million bonding bill, which got hung up last week because of objections from the governor, and sent it to the state Senate today.

Gov. Mark Dayton argued that last week’s $496 million borrowing proposal didn’t have enough parity between the state’s higher education systems and that it was too small. The new proposal adds roughly $10 million to the University of Minnesota’s allocation, which ups it to $64 million. The measure also takes about $12 million from the MnSCU system, dropping its total for projects to $132 million.

DFL Rep. Alice Hausman, who voted for the borrowing package on Monday, called it “an important bill for the state of Minnesota,” although most Democrats supported Dayton’s $775 million proposal.

Some Democrats, including Hausman, voiced concerns that the bill didn’t include projects like regional convention centers and light-rail transit supported by Minnesota business groups.

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“We have given [business groups] exactly zero for all that work,” she said. “I think we missed an opportunity to build strong regional centers.”

The proposal would add on to a roughly $500 million bonding passed last summer as part of the package to end Minnesota’s state government shutdown, and would bring total bonding to more than $1 billion for this budget cycle.

The updated deal would also add $19.5 million funding for an education center at Camp Ripley. It also kept in $44 million in upgrades for renovations to the decaying state Capitol.

Rep. Larry Howes, the proposal’s chief House author, thanked members for their support of the bill before it passed 99-32.

Joking about the Vikings stadium proposal that came up later that day, Howes ended his comments with: “And right now I feel like the pregame show for Monday night football.”