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The last-minute compromise bill authorizes $176 million in general obligation bonds.
(Published May 24, 2013)
The Legislature passed a $176 million bonding bill less than three hours before the deadline for adjournment as part of a last-minute compromise that paved the way for passage of the Omnibus Tax Bill and the State Government Finance Bill. The $176 million package is far less than the $850 million bonding bill that was defeated on the House floor on May 17 (HF 270, Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul). That bonding bill failed by a vote of 76-56, five votes shy of the 81 votes required to reach the three-fifths supermajority required for a bonding bill.
On May 20, the Senate unanimously passed a bonding bill that only included funding for the Capitol restoration project and Capitol complex parking facility. The bonding bill was amended to a judiciary finance bill previously passed by the House (HF 1160), and sent over as a “take it or leave it” offer. The House rejected that proposal and action on the outstanding budget bills came to a halt as the House and Senate negotiated a final compromise. In the end, the legislature agreed to a $176 million bonding bill, which was brought to the House floor at 9:00 p.m. on Monday evening.
The compromise bonding bill contains the following items:
The $8 million in PFA bonding is particularly important for cities because that money leverages $40 million in federal money that is used for subsidized loans to cities for upgrades and construction of wastewater, stormwater, and drinking water projects. The League and the Associated General Contractors worked together with legislators to secure this last-minute funding to ensure that the federal matching dollars were not lost.
The bonding bill also cancelled a number of previously allocated bonds that had not been spent, reauthorized previously allocated bonds, and expanded the allowable use of bonds for the Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center and the old Cedar Avenue Bridge in Bloomington.
The projects contained in the original House bonding bill will be reconsidered by the Legislature during the 2014 legislative session. The second year of the biennium is often referred to as the “bonding year,” because it is traditionally the year in which large bonding bills are passed.
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