Updated 1:36 p.m.
Gov. Mark Dayton is proposing a $1.5 billion capital investment bill for 2017 that he says would create more than 22,000 jobs across the state.
But after lawmakers failed last year to agree to a smaller bonding package, the governor’s plan would seem likely to meet opposition from a Republican-controlled Legislature.
Dayton’s proposal, released Wednesday, is nearly identical to the plan he put forward a year ago. It would borrow heavily to invest in a state construction program to rehabilitate drinking water and wastewater infrastructure across the state; make rail and pipeline safety upgrades; and invest in local road improvement and bridge replacement programs.
“This is making up for last year,” Dayton said on a conference call with statewide media. “This is finishing the work. ... Most of these projects were approved by the House or the Senate, or both, and they didn't reach me for a signature. So this is catch-up. That's why it's so vital to be [passed] in the first month of the legislative session.”
House and Senate leaders did not pass a $1 billion compromise bonding bill during a frantic end to the 2016 legislative session, and then failed to strike an agreement on capital investment across months of special session negotiations with Dayton during the summer and fall.
House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) said last month he doubted a bonding bill would find the necessary support to pass in 2017. This year, the first of the two-year legislative biennium, is traditionally the budget-setting session. The biennium’s second year is, generally, when lawmakers pass large capital investment bills.
Dayton expressed hope that a Legislature with 44 new members would be able to find agreement and pass a large-scale bonding package.
“I think when they take a look at these projects and the benefit in their district, regions ... I hope they'll recognize the importance of this,” he said.
Highlights of the governor’s borrowing proposal include:
The governor’s office said 35 percent of the investments would be made in Greater Minnesota, with another 35 percent targeted toward statewide projects. Bonding bills require a three-fifths supermajority of both the House and Senate to pass.
The Minnesota Supreme Court has ordered the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton to use mediation to resolve a funding dispute. In an opinion issued Friday, the court also ruled that Dayton’s use of the line-item veto to strip biennial funding for the Legislature was constitutional.
A Ramsey County judge on Wednesday ruled that Gov. Mark Dayton’s line-item veto of legislative funding violated the state’s constitution.
House and Senate leadership OK a resolution to seek outside legal representation in an effort to restore funding for the Legislature that Gov. Mark Dayton line-item vetoed earlier this week.
Day three of the 2017 special session saw lawmakers pass final omnibus bills to be sent to Gov. Mark Dayton, with weary House members wrapping up their work at 2:42 a.m. Friday following a week of long days — and nights — at the State Capitol.
Lawmakers on conference committees must sort through competing bills before finalizing a product to send to the governor.
The budget process explained — and why it matters
$45 billion plan is about a 10 percent increase over current biennium
Governor urges lawmakers to pass a big capital investment bill during budget-setting year; House Speaker has expressed doubt over bonding this session
It was a day of selfies, swearings-in and standing ovations as the House opened the 2017-18 biennial session Tuesday.