Republicans react to bonding bill - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Republicans react to bonding bill

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KTTC) -- Governor Mark Dayton released his $750 million bonding bill on Monday, and expanding Rochester's Mayo Civic Center is among the projects.

However, this bill requires Republican support to pass.

Rochester Republican Senators Dave Senjem and Carla Nelson say they support expanding the Mayo Civic Center, but they see some other possible problems with the governor's bonding bill.

That could be a problem for the governor because the bill needs a 3/5 majority to pass, and though Democrats control both houses of the legislature, they still don't have that much of a margin.

Rochester Republicans had one initial reaction to Governor Dayton's bonding bill.

"One concern I would say is the size," Nelson said.

"750 is typically a bit more than we would do in a first year," Senjem said.

However, the Governor says with low interest rates and a strong construction workforce, now is the time for his 64 recommendations which also include money for RCTC and Winona State classroom renovations as well as money for Rochester to takeover Highway 63 from the state.

"Given the backlog from previous governors vetoes and from lack of legislative support the last two years there's just huge need for it," Dayton said.

But for the bill to pass, Senator Senjem says there's still plenty of work to be done on it in the legislature.

"I expect it will probably be a little less than it is now or reconfigured in some form," Senjem said.

Senator Nelson says the state has some other business to sort out first.

"We have to vote for a budget first," Nelson said. Then we can talk about bonding."

When it comes down to what needs to go from the bill, both senators have a pretty clear indication.

"There's some things in there that would just give me heartburn like a sculpture garden certainly," Nelson said. "I think there's funding in there for a ski chalet."

"There are other projects in there that deal with ski chalets and sculpture gardens," Senjem said.

While the Senators both agree work needs to be done on the bill, they say they still hope to see money for the Mayo Civic center in the final version.

After fighting for that money last summer, Senjem says it shouldn't have taken this long.

"We could have had this done frankly six months ago," Senjem said.

The governor's bonding recommendations allocate $35 million to expand the Mayo Civic Center.

The biggest single expense in the governor's recommendations goes right into the capitol building -- $109 million on continued restorations.

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