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Bonding Bill Becomes High Priority for Lawmakers

Created: 04/23/2014 7:46 AM KSTP.com
By: Jennie Olson

Passing a bonding bill is topping the list of priorities for lawmakers before the session ends next month.

Before going on break, the House passed a bill with $975 million worth of projects; $125 million would be paid with cash from the budget surplus and the other $850 million would be borrowed.

Democrats will have to convince Republicans, who are likely to insist the whole list be kept to $850 million or less. Democrats need Republican votes because bonding bills require a three-fifths majority.

Lawmakers have already dished out about half of the state's $1.2 billion surplus, much of it in targeted tax relief or the elimination of controversial business taxes. Another $100 million in tax breaks is still in the mix, though who gains is yet to be decided. They've also set aside $150 million for the next rainy day.

What remains is likely to be split among schools, caregivers for the disabled and elderly, development of broadband technology in far-flung areas and quick fixes to pothole-battered roads. If lawmakers can't agree, they can leave more money to haggle over next year.

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