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House DFLers unveil $800 million bonding bill, even bigger than Dayton’s plan

A day after Gov. Mark Dayton pitched a $750 million bonding bill to pay for capital projects around the state, House DFLers unveiled their own bonding proposal with a $800 million price tag.

Both include $109 million for extensive renovations at the state Capitol in St. Paul, and both include civic center expansions in Mankato, Rochester and St. Cloud, and an expansion of the Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul.

But MPR notes that House plan includes about $22 million more for higher education, but $52 million less for the state veterans home than the governor proposed.

And while the governor included $20 million for renovation of the Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis, the House bill doesn’t have anything set aside for that project. And the House would provide only $5 million for Minnesota Zoo projects, half of the governor’s proposal.

Because the bonding bill needs 60 percent support to pass (and therefore some Republican votes), Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, acknowledged that the bill was designed for broad appeal:

“I would write a different bill if I just needed a simple majority. But this bill, unlike all the other budget bills, requires a super majority, and that’s a more complicated task. So, I say to audience members and everyone, everyone has to help pass this bill. We have to work together.”

And that played well with Republican state Rep. Greg Davids of Preston, who said: “It’s more geographically diverse, and it does some very good things for the state of Minnesota. I think it’s a pretty good bill.”

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