Key GOP House member now supports quick fix for Destination Medical Center law

Rochester area lawmakers and leaders are resting a little easier now that state Rep. Greg Davids has changed his mind about working quickly to fix a state law that helps the city’s Destination Medical Center.

Davids, a Republican from Preston, will likely chair the House Tax Committee under the new GOP majority, and had earlier said he didn’t see any urgency in fixing an apparent wording flaw in the law.

A state Attorney General’s review found that the law’s wording required much more private investment than legislators intended before the full amount of state money for infrastructure was released.

The problem, considered largely a technical issue, was identified before the November election with hopes for a relatively easy fix when the Legislature convenes next year.

But there was initially much angst in Rochester when Davids, the Tax chair-apparent, told the Rochester Post Bulletin that he didn’t want to rush into a DMC fix, but wanted to reconsider the project’s entire funding structure.

But now, the paper reports, Davids is on board for a quick resolution.

Supporters convinced him of the urgency, he told the paper:

“What we need to do now is, as expeditiously as we can, we need to get the fix through so the investors can start investing and people can start working,” Davids said.

That’s good news, said state Rep. Kim Norton, DFL-Rochester: “It would be absolutely great to just get a quick fix done early.”

State Sen. Carla Nelson, R-Rochester, agreed:

“Investors like good news. They adjust for bad news. But uncertainty freezes investment, and we cannot let that happen at the hands of the Minnesota Legislature. So I applaud Davids’ decision to move quickly with the swift, clean bill, and it is my sincere hope that the Senate does the same.”

The 20-year project calls for $6 billion in private investment to help the city with a major expansion of the Mayo Clinic. The Legislature agreed to add $327 million in state money for infrastructure as the project moves forward. Local governments will also contribute to the project.

On Sunday, the Star Tribune reported that foreign investors are buying property in Rochester, in anticipation of the Mayo expansion.

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