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Main entrance to Mayo's Gonda Building in Rochester, Minn.

Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune

Reworked Mayo finance plan increases local, private ante

  • Associated Press
  • April 22, 2013 - 11:41 AM

ST. PAUL, Minn. - State taxpayer money would go toward an expansion of the Mayo Clinic only after a hefty amount of private money and more local taxes are committed to the project, under a reworked plan unveiled in a state Senate committee on Monday.

The revisions outlined in the Senate Taxes Committee call for the state to withhold its money for the project until $250 million is spent by others to upgrade the clinic and associated Rochester-area development. That's $50 million higher than the trigger in a companion House bill.

In exchange, the Senate proposal would allow for a higher total state contribution — approaching $400 million in aid and tax breaks — than in the House plan.

A range of local taxes would generate at least $128 million.

Randy Staver, the interim president of Rochester's city council, noted that Mayo's original plan sought only $60 million from the local tax base. He said city leaders will need to discuss whether it can make the increased obligation work, although some of the new amount would be borne by Olmsted County.

"We will do our part and more," Staver said. The revised bill would authorize extra sales, transit and lodging taxes that the locals could lean on.

Mayo officials stress that none of the public money would go toward its buildings. The goal is to have the state assist with roads, sewers and other public infrastructure. Mayo and other private investors said the public money could leverage more than $5 billion in privately financed construction over the next two decades.

Dr. Bradly Narr, a Mayo physician and executive, said the world-renowned clinic is pitching a "low-risk plan to the state. Investment must occur before anything is triggered on the public side."

Given differences between the Senate plan and a House version, it will be weeks before a final version emerges.

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