Legislature passes bonding billRepublicans blasted a public works funding bill as being too expensive, but as the Minnesota House and Senate passed a revised measure Thursday a Democrat was the most critical of a bill written by his party members.
By: Don Davis, E/P State Capitol Bureau
ST. PAUL -- Republicans blasted a public works funding bill as being too
expensive, but as the Minnesota House and Senate passed a revised
measure Thursday a Democrat was the most critical of a bill written by
his party members.
Rep. Al Juhnke, DFL-Willmar, complained about "the smelly underbelly of
this bill," saying that legislative leaders violated their own rules
when they gave money to a Minneapolis Veterans' Home expansion project
and skipped over one in Willmar.
"At the end of the day, it becomes very easy, for some reason, to say
yes to a $28 million project in Minneapolis and say no to a rural
Minnesota veterans mental health facility," Juhnke said in an
impassioned speech to fellow representatives.
The House passed the bill 89-44, with the Senate following 49-17. Gov.
Tim Pawlenty says he will erase individual projects from the bill, but
has yet to say which ones.
Originally, Republican Pawlenty suggested a $685 million public works
bill, funding things ranging from repairing state buildings to helping
fund civic and sports centers in some communities. The bill the
Democratic-control Legislature passed is just short of $1 billion.
Pawlenty has three days from the time the bill arrives on his desk to
make decisions on what to cut.
Thursday's votes are the second for the two chambers. After the first
public works bill passed, legislative leaders held onto the bill so
further negotiations could proceed. However, public works negotiators
said Pawlenty would not sit down with them, so they added his priorities
and went ahead with the revised version.