Minnesota House members are in northwestern Minnesota through Friday, hearing pitches for projects vying for state bonding dollars. Hermantown Democrat Mary Murphy, chair of the House Capital Investment Committee, says last legislative session while assembling a bonding bill that ultimately didn’t pass, “We heard the needs of people and agencies and communities that had these local needs, and we want to address them because we don’t want to be playing catch-up forever.”
Murphy’s committee was in the northwest metro, Saint Cloud, Saint Joseph and Fergus Falls yesterday (Wed). Today they’re in Detroit Lakes, Moorhead, Thief River Falls and Bemidji. Tomorrow it’s Browerville, Little Falls, Becker and then back to the Twin Cities. (It’s the first of five tours the group will make. Next up is northeast Minnesota, then southwest, southeast and the metro area.)
Murphy says they were told earlier this year that the dollar amount of a bonding bill could be “upwards of over 3.5 billion dollars. And we could do that without harm to our AAA [credit] rating on Wall Street.” Murphy isn’t saying yet what the number in her committee’s bill will be. In recent years Democrats have proposed bonding bills in the one-and-a-half-billion-dollar range. Republicans’ number has generally been much smaller and the final dollar figure has ended up somewhere in the middle.