Democrats looking for $800 million bonding bill

Democrats in the House and Senate say they’re looking to pass a capital works bonding bill this year. Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, says she wants a bill that borrows $800 million for projects across the state.

Hausman says she hopes to release a list of projects in early April. She says she’s working to find eight Republicans to who will vote for the bill by offering projects in their districts.

“If the local legislator isn’t willing to vote for it, it’s really hard to imagine why would all of the rest of us deliver to that community,” Hausman said. “We usually look for support from the local legislator before a local project goes in.”

Sen. Dick Cohen, DFL-St. Paul, says the Senate bill will also be “in the ballpark” of $800 million. Cohen, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, says he’s letting Senate Capital Investment Chair Leroy Stumpf work on the specifics.

“We would anticipate that we’ll be doing something,” Cohen said. “Leroy has started preliminary work but we’re going to wait until after the break to actually start putting things to see where we are in terms of the size of the bill or what’s in it.”

Cohen says they’ll start working on a bonding bill after they return from the Easter break.

Governor Dayton says he intends to release his own proposed bonding bill soon.

A bonding bill needs a 60 percent supermajority to pass in the House and Senate so both bodies will need to pick up Republican votes.