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Flood relief bill fails in the House

  • Blog Post by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger
  • May 21, 2011 - 1:57 AM

In the wee hours of Saturday morning, the Minnesota House rejected a spending bill for flood relief. The failure marks the first fiscal bill to die on the floor since Republicans took over the House in January.

The $47 million borrowing bill would have helped areas hit by high waters with building funds.

Borrowing measures require an 81-vote, super majority. The measure had just 76 votes with 57 votes against it. Most of the Republicans voted for it and most of the Democrats voted against it but both parties were on both sides.

"They wanted some more money," said Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker, who sponsored the bill. "I thought I had 81."

"Bonding bills when they are not large -- it's hard to make a lot of people happy," the chair of the capital investment committee said. "We will live to fight another day but I don't think it's going to be this session."

But he said a bonding bill could reemerge during a special session. Although lawmakers will end the regular session on Monday, they will do so without a budget approved by Gov. Mark Dayton. That means, they will likely return to finish the job.

"If there is a special session and we negotiate a final end to this... there will be a bonding bill a little larger than we have now," Howes predicted. He said he's already scratched out a borrowing measure that he believes he could win 90 votes.

DFL Rep. Alice Hausman, who had Howe's committee job last year, said she would relish a larger bonding bill.

"Not only would a stronger bonding bill address economic needs at the present time, but currently, interest rates are low. This means that taxpayers would be getting more for their dollar. Looking to the future, we need to focus on passing a more extensive bonding bill that will create jobs and invest in our state’s infrastructure, providing vast opportunities for economic growth,” she said. She voted against the measure Saturday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

 

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