Minnesota House considers $1.4B public works borrowing bill

Associated Press
Updated: October 14, 2020 11:01 PM
Created: October 14, 2020 09:28 AM

The Minnesota House has reconvened for what could be its last chance to pass a $1.37 billion public works construction borrowing package this year.

The legislation, known as a bonding bill, requires a 60% supermajority to pass.

"We have worked for months and months to try to get agreement for all four caucus leaders and the governor so this bill can get signed into law," DFL House Speaker Melissa Hortman said before the debate began. "The bill is chocful of jobs. The most important reason to pass the bill is the jobs the bonding portion of the bill creates. But every portion of the bill is essential to economic recovery in COVID-19."

Republicans have blocked passage of a bonding bill since May while trying to get the governor to give up his emergency powers. Enough Republicans are expected to vote for the bill now even though in addition to $1.36 billion in building projects it also includes nearly $600 million in tax relief and new spending. Some criticized how the bill has grown beyond just borrowing money for building projects.

"This is a bonding bill, it's a tax bill, it's a supplemental spending bill," Republican Deputy Minority Leader Anne Neu pointed out. "There are additional appropriations in the bonding bill. This isn't a bonding bill. I didn't realize there were any rules on what could or couldn't be in this bill."

Minnesota lawmakers to reconvene for 5th special session

The Democratic-controlled House must approve it before the Republican-controlled Senate can take it up, which could happen Thursday.

The bonding bill is the biggest piece of unfinished business left over from the 2020 regular session. House leaders say it could create thousands of jobs.

House Speaker Melissa Hortman said Monday that she was confident of getting six GOP votes.

Minnesota House Republicans willing to vote on bonding bill in next legislative special session

(Copyright 2020 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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