This morning, DFL Gov. Mark Dayton unveiled plans for a $1 billion construction borrowing bill. He specifically identifies $531 million worth of bonding projects to fund — including $28 million for the Rochester Mayo Civic Center expansion. Joining him for the big announcement was Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede who praised the governor for including the Rochester priority in the bonding proposal.
He said the project would have a $44 million impact and create 400 construction jobs and 800 permanent jobs.
"It's new money, it helps the hospitality industry again not only for the city of Rochester but for the entire state," Brede said.
Dayton's plan leaves it up to the legislature to determine how the other $469 million are spent.
But GOP-leaders made clear in a news conference following the governor's announcement that they have no interest in a large bonding bill. They said they are not willing to support any bonding bill except one for emergency items such as flooding. Senate Capital Investment Chair Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, joined his GOP colleagues in saying now is not the time to borrow money for construction projects.
"Now I think the emergency obviously is our budget deficit, the emergency is getting jobs going in Minnesota and that needs to be our focus and our priority," he said.
When asked by a reporter if Rochester should wait for the Mayo Civic Center expansion, "Senjem replied, "Given what I said, yes."
Click here to Download 2011 Dayton bonding proposal