The Capitol at midweek is well populated with nervous seekers of bonding dollars, waiting for action on the bills that represent an even-year session’s main event.
Nobody in a position to know would say on Wednesday afternoon when the two very different bills will be debated on their respective floors.
The wait gives lobbyists more time to pitch their favorite projects to legislators – and journalists.  I caught one from Chip Halbach, the executive director of the Minnesota Housing Project, a non-profit affordable housing agency.
His agency asked for $40 million in bonding support for the renovation of public housing and improvement of federally supported rental property, and for increasing the supply of housing with services for vulnerable low-income people. Gov. Mark Dayton responded by recommending $32 million; the Senate opted for $36 million and the House for $15 million.
“You can relax -- you’re in all three versions of the bill,” I opined. Halbach disagreed. It’s too easy for projects with deep-pocketed backers to push affordable housing aside when final deals are struck.
“This doesn’t have the clout that’s required for last-minute deal-making,” he lamented.  “But this money is really needed. Public housing is under-capitalized. It’s an asset that’s eroding because we aren’t keeping it up.” Without this funding support, the state stands to lose an estimated 10,000 subsidized housing units in the next several years as owners convert them to market-rate housing in order to finance their repair, he said.
The Great Recession produced a spike in homelessness, foreclosures and the demand for supportive housing that shows little sign of abating.  Against that backdrop, it would be a shame if Halbach’s jitters prove prescient.