The House this week approved legislation which provides a total of nearly $2 billion in bonding and cash investments to fund infrastructure projects around the state.
The basis for the package which passed comes from an agreement on bonding reached last year that never was enacted. In total, it includes one bill (H.F. 669) featuring $1.5 billion in state bonds and another bill (H.F. 670) appropriating around $392 million from the general fund.
As the ranking minority member of the House Capital Investment Committee, I am thankful for the positive feedback I have received since we passed this package. Just one bonding bill has been enacted in the last five years, so we have a significant backlog of important projects.
We bond to address the needs of our state infrastructure and that’s what this package was all about. For example, Minnesotans want clean water and safe roads and bridges. This is one way, other than meaningful tax relief — which must remain a top priority this session — that we can return money to the people. It is our responsibility to take care of our state’s infrastructure and this package helps us do that.
If we fail to uphold that responsibility at the state level, the needs will remain, and someone is still going to pay — likely in the form of higher property taxes that are especially damaging to lower-income citizens in smaller towns throughout Greater Minnesota.
A three-fifths super majority is required for bonding bills to pass the House. The bonding bill easily surpassed the 81-vote threshold on a 91-43 tally. The cash bill, requiring a simple majority, passed 98-36.
The bills are now in the hands of the Senate.
In other news, public safety was a major topic of discussion last summer and fall, with people from both sides of the aisle expressing an interest in curbing violent crime in our state. It is concerning to see we are now halfway through the 2023 session with no real progress on this issue. Rates of violent crime remain abnormally high in the metro area and beyond, but the House majority seems more focused on reducing punishment for criminals.
House Republicans this week put forward a Safe and Sound Minnesota plan that focuses on confronting crime, supporting law enforcement, and increasing transparency in our court system to help stop the revolving door for repeat offenders. Watch for more details on this package soon.
For now, have a good weekend and please let me know how I can help.