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Danielle Killey, Forum News Service, Published May 17 2013

Bonding bill in question after it fails in Minnesota House

ST. PAUL – The future of a public works borrowing bill to fund state Capitol work, roads and bridges and other projects is in question after it failed in the Minnesota House.

Representatives voted 76-56 on Friday on a bill to sell bonds to fund public works projects, five votes short of the 81 needed to pass.

“This is nothing short of tragic,” bill author Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, said after the vote. But even with only three days left in the session, the bill could resurface.

The $800 million bonding bill would fund projects such as state Capitol renovations, repairs at colleges and state parks and local bridge and road projects. The $109 million Capitol provision is the largest single item in the bill.

Republicans said they did not want to vote on the bill before the state budget is set.

“We need to get our priorities straight,” House Minority Leader Rep. Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said.

“Why we would at this time borrow another

$800 million to spend more money, before doing our budget work, is perplexing,” said Rep. Matt Dean, R-Dellwood.

Various budget bills have begun to be heard by the House and Senate, but most major pieces remain to be debated.

Southwestern Minnesota Republicans said they were upset because aid to their area affected by storms last month was in the bonding bill and would have been more likely to pass on its own.

“I truly hope the Demo-crats aren’t going to play politics with an act of God,” Rep. Joe Schomacker, R-Luverne, said before the vote.

Hausman argued that all the projects in the bill are important.

“Why is one community and its need more noble than anyone else’s?” she asked.

Republicans have said they could accept a bonding bill that includes Capitol work and any disaster funding, but not other projects.

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