I would like to thank all the people who attended last Saturday’s town hall meeting Sen. Scott Newman and I hosted in Litchfield. It was a productive discussion and we both appreciate the input from local citizens.
We will host another town hall meeting 9 a.m. this Saturday at the Hutch Café (122 Main St. S.). Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen also will participate in the event.
As for news from the Capitol, both Gov. Mark Dayton and the House majority have issued separate capital investment proposals to fund projects throughout the state. The governor recommends $750 million in bonding, while the House’s proposal is for $858 million. Those are steep price tags, especially since bonding bills are generally reserved for even-numbered years.
Key items in the House bill include:
$109 million for Capitol restoration
$103 million for University of Minnesota
$108 million for MNSCU
$94 million for transportation
I might support a bonding bill which is limited to essential infrastructure projects, but a number of wish-list items are bloating these bonding proposals beyond what is responsible. The governor and/or the House majority seek funding for a resort chalet, a sculpture garden, green space in Minneapolis, work on a Duluth baseball stadium and more. Those questionable projects are in direct contrast to what our mission should be: to make sure we are using taxpayer dollars as effectively, efficiently and wisely as possible.
I will remain close to this subject as a member of the House Capital Investment Committee. It does not appear as if the current proposals from Democrats are capable of generating the kind of bipartisan support which is necessary to pass. The wish-list items will have to be scrapped for that to happen.
Regardless, we should have a balanced budget in place before borrowing any additional money. Finance bills are making their way through the Legislature, but they remain far from finished products.