Minnesota’s new bonding bill passed the house with ease, the Senate could be a different story

St. Paul Capitol Building on a cloudy winter day.
St. Paul Capitol Building on a cloudy winter day.(Gray TV)
Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 5:24 PM CST
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ST. PAUL, MN -- On Monday, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed a bonding package that would set aside roughly 1.9 billion dollars for projects around the state. Both bills required a supermajority to pass, and now go on to the Minnesota Senate.

“We can finally try to get a bill passed that would provide critical infrastructure projects, recreational opportunities, housing developments, and otherwise,” said Senator Grant Hauschild, the DFLer for Hermantown.

Although DFLers appear eager to vote on the bill once it hits the Senate floor, Senate Republicans may be an obstacle to the bill’s passage.

“I think most of us in the Republican caucus in the Senate, think we should do what we ran on. And that was to give some of that money back,” said Senator Rich Draheim, the Republican from Madison Lake.

Draheim and others in his party say the bill isn’t likely to get anywhere without the support of Republicans in the Senate. GOP Senators want to get tax cuts done before they tackle other projects like bonding.

“We have this almost $18 billion surplus. Plus we have our reserve accounts full of the stadium account full. You know, we should decide how much to give back,” he said.

DFLers would need to swing 7 republican votes in order to pass the bill.

Senator Hauschild’s own District 3 added an additional $7.8M in projects during a Senate Committee meeting Friday. With the GOP playing hardball, Hauschild says he’s disappointed at the prospect the bill might get blocked.

“I was a city councilor during the last session when we were looking for bonding dollars for our community. And this exact kind of gridlock happened then as it is now,” he said.

Hauschild hopes they can reach a compromise.

“I would hope that my colleagues across the aisle would vote for this bill because the agreement right now is equal dollars within the DFL caucus and equal dollars within the Republican caucus. So there’s every reason for us to come together,” he said.

Draheim isn’t as optimistic.

“I’ll be surprised if they get one or two Republican votes until we have some tax relief,” he said.