Mayo vies for public money for Minnesota expansion - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Mayo vies for public money for Minnesota expansion

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KTTC) -- The Mayo Clinic is pressing Minnesota state lawmakers to direct more than $500 million toward an ambitious development project tied to the renowned medical center in Rochester.

It could be the biggest move in Mayo Clinic history.  The plan was brought to the forefront Wednesday afternoon which included a $5 billion economic development initiative. Mayo Clinic is working toward what it calls a Destination Medical Center plan.

"Mayo Clinic is beginning a new journey," explained Mayo Clinic CEO Dr. John Noseworthy. 

But the clinic doesn't have all the funds. 

"We are not looking for a hand out or up front money from the state," Noseworthy said. "We are seeking the infusion of state dollars based on proof of, not promise of, investment."

Dr. Noseworthy explained the proposal is based on the assumption that the public will pay for the accommodating Rochester infrastructure only after the plan proves itself -- a cost of $30 million a year.

The clinic will take care of the rest.  "Mayo Clinic investments in excess of $3 billion of private capital in Minnesota to expand the needed buildings and facilities throughout Rochester," stated Noseworthy.

"So, basically, measure tax revenue in a given area in the city of Rochester in its entirety, take a fraction of that revenue after it's been realized and reinvest that in the city of Rochester.  A Rochester rebate," said Mayo Clinic Dr. Brad Narr. 

Dr. Narr sees this plan as an important step to staying ahead of competitors. 

"It's way more certain than if they build it they will come," Narr said. "They're already coming. It's our job to put the tools in place to do it efficiently and cost responsibly so that people can afford to come here."

"We are 100% behind this legislative initiative," said Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede.  "Our staff with various council, have tweaked the plan and I believe that all parties feel that the plan has gotten even better."

While Gov. Mark Dayton may agree with the bill sponsored by Rep. Kim Norton, he said the options will need to be weighed. 

"We'll have to look at the consequences of it financially in terms of other cities, communities, regions no question," Dayton said.

The task at hand will be to earn legislative approval.

It's expected approximately $3 billion dollars will be generated in tax revenue to state and local governments and bring in hundreds of thousands of new patients and families to Rochester each year.

Meanwhile, the investment is projected to create 25,000 to 35,000 new jobs over the next 20 years.

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