Gov. Mark Dayton expressed disappointment Wednesday in House Democrats’ bonding proposal, criticizing it as underfunded and saying that an agreement last year between DFLers and Republicans to bond no more than $850 million should be rescinded.
“There’s certainly capacity to go higher than that,” Dayton said. “It’s an impossible task to try to meet all those needs, and the urgent needs should be funded.”
Dayton’s remarks came the day after the House released its proposal to fund nearly $1 billion in state projects. Their bonding bill would be funded by two sources: $850 million from the sale of state construction bonds and another $125 million from the state’s budget surplus. Dayton said he disagreed with the cash-for-bonding measure.
“I’ve said to both leaders in the House and Senate that we don’t use cash for bonding bills because that’s the whole purpose of bonding, you put cash down and expand the scope of projects dramatically,” Dayton said. “Putting cash into a bonding bill to me is antithetical to the whole purpose of that enterprise.”
Dayton expressed concern that the bill only includes $20 million for Capitol renovations, saying the Department of Administration needs $125 million in hand soon to fulfill necessary construction contracts. There, he would support using cash to meet that deadline in order to keep construction costs down.
Dayton made his remarks following a news conference with Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans, in which they urged the estimated 1 million Minnesotans who have yet to file their taxes to do so starting today to receive tax cut benefits.
Dayton also said he would deliver his State of the State address April 23 in the House chambers, when the Legislature returns from recess. He said he hoped the date would provide a strong incentive for the Legislature to adjourn before then, “but it didn’t seem to have that effect.”