Gov candidates talk infrastructure

At their latest debate, Republican Tom Emmer, Democrat Mark Dayton and Tom Horner from the Independence party talked transportation issues during a 90 minutes debate this morning sponsored by a variety of transportation interests.

Dayton is proposing a one billion dollar bonding bill, which he says could create nearly 30,000 jobs. He said it makes sense to borrow because the need for road work comes when interest rates are low.

“There’s both the short term benefit of a $1 billion bonding bill in a state that has a gross state product of $263 billion, I mean that’s not going to tip the scales But in terms of the economic recovery, it’s going to make a significant contribution. 28,500 jobs through a $1 billion of public investment is a good deal for the people of Minnesota.”

Horner would spend less than half of that. Horner used the debate to rip Dayton’s spending plans and his income tax increase on the top ten percent of wage earners.

“That’s not nearly enough to pay for the billions and billions and billions of dollars that you’re promising in new spending and there aren’t enough bonding bills in the world that are going to help small businesses if they’re not in business because they’re having to pay rates that are at the top of the nation.”

Dayton defended his tax proposal, saying more than 90 percent of small business owners don’t report enough income to get hit by the higher rate.

Republican Emmer has never voted for a bonding bill as a state legislator. He said the bills should be used only for long-term projects and that they are instead used for political purposes.

“They should not be used to pass policies like a policy on greenhouse has emissions that would not otherwise not get through the legislative process. They should not be used to give out a Christmas tree full of gifts to convince career politicians to give their votes in other areas where they might not otherwise provide them.”

You can listen to the full debate here:

The three candidates are scheduled to take part in another debate tomorrow. The TwinWest Chamber will host that debate in the morning.

MPR’s Mark Zdechlik wrote the story and gathered the audio for this blog post.

  • The problem with the Fed stimulus is that instead of creating jobs which will stay in the economy it has fed only one sector- road construction. Not a lot of jobs in that per $ spent since most of that is in equipment. Somehow we need to stimulate private enterprise and manufacturing to create long term jobs. We have taxed our great corporations out of MN. The railroad has left, 3M, General Mills, Honeywell, Cargill, all are expanding in other states. We need to incentivize them to stay. None of the candidates even addressed this problem. Emmer probably came the closest.

    Why can’t private investors build the Viking Stadium? That is one question no one has asked as far as I know.