Senate Republicans reject $1.5B bonding bill

[anvplayer video=”5167895″ station=”998122″]

A plan to borrow $1.5 billion for capital improvement projects around Minnesota failed to get the three-fifths majority needed to pass in the Senate on Thursday.

Most Republicans favor the plan but voted against it because Democrats refuse to pass tax relief first.

“The Democratic party has the trifecta in Minnesota,” Sen. John Jasinski, R-Faribault, said on the chamber floor Thursday. “They can ram through bills, approve bills — whatever they want. But folks, this is the one bill that we can ask for compromise.”

Republicans have been pushing for income tax cuts and Social Security tax cuts specifically. But that’s where a second part of the infrastructure package comes into play.

It’s smaller, with $400 million in spending that would be paid for using some of the state’s $17 billion surplus. Since that doesn’t require borrowing money, the DFL would only need a simple majority to pass that part.

“I refer to as the ‘with or without you’ bill. We would really like to do that with Republicans, but at the end of the day, it’s not acceptable to Minnesotans to go this long without another bonding bill,” said House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park.

RELATED: Capitol wrap: Bonding bills, Social Security taxes and what the governor signed this week

If any bonding bill passes, it would be the first in two years to make it to the Governor’s desk.

Projects that would be paid for include $250 million for road and bridge improvements, as well as $132 million to the University of Minnesota. About $180 million would be allocated toward natural resources and around $140 million would be set aside for employment and economic development.

To follow the progress of many other bills throughout the session, check out KSTP’s Legislative Tracker.