MMB: State has $1.5 billion left to spend from past bonding bills

Minnesota Management and Budget released a report that details how much money has yet to be spent from past bonding bills. The report says $1.5 billion has yet to be spent on projects. The report comes at a time when Gov. Dayton is negotiating the importance of a new bonding bill with legislative leaders.

The report, which was released at the request of MPR News, shows that hundreds of millions of dollars have yet to be spent on projects that are either in progress or haven’t started yet.

Republicans in the House and Senate have suggested that they don’t need to do a large bonding bill this session because there are plenty of unspent funds from past bonding bills. They started making the claims after Gov. Dayton and other Democrats said a bonding bill was need to boost hiring in the construction sector (MPR wrote about this issue last week).

The bonding bill is one of the key items being negotiated among legislative leadership. House and Senate Democrats have suggested the state spend $686 million on a bonding bill that includes $77 million for the State Capitol renovation. Republicans countered with a $496 milion bill that now includes projects favored by Democrats.

Here’s the report from MMB:

Bonds Fund Level Balances 04242012

  • This story feels incomplete and potentially misleading. It seems to be implying that unspent funds are wasteful, but it takes many bonding projects awhile to either get started or fully use their allotted funds. It can take some time to take a project through the development stages.

    The State always has some bonds still in the pipeline. That’s what keeps projects going.

    The story should include how much bonding authority is usually unused at this point in a 2-year biennium. More than usual? Just about right?