The Minnesota House rejected an $800 million bonding bill Thursday, just one day after Republican leaders unveiled the package of public construction projects.
The vote of 69-64 fell well short of the 81-vote super majority required for passage. Nearly all DFL lawmakers and a few Republicans voted against the bill.
House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said Republicans never asked Democrats for input. Thissen said the result was a bad bill.
“This bill is an unfortunate, sad joke that House Republicans are playing on Minnesotans,” Thissen said. “We should vote no on this bill and get to work on a real bonding bill that will create jobs and strengthen communities in every part of this state. The clock is ticking. Let’s get to work.”
Republicans argued that their bonding bill was a reasonable size and was geographically balanced.
Rep. Paul Torkelson, R-Hanska, chair of the House Capital Investment Committee, said the bill focused on priority needs.
“It doesn’t have a lot of fluff in it,” Torkelson said. “There are no stadiums in this bill. There’s no civic centers in this bill. This bill is full of the infrastructure that benefits everyone in the state of Minnesota.”
The House left room for further negotiations with Senate Democrats in the final days of the session, and it’s possible a new version of the bill could come up for another vote.
Earlier this month, Senate Democrats failed to pass a $1.5 billion bonding bill when they fell one vote short of a super majority.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said even though neither body passed a bonding bill, he’s working with the House to form a conference committee to begin working on a new bill.
Gov. Mark Dayton is seeking a $1.4 billion bonding bill. Dayton said the House GOP plan didn’t do enough for the University of Minnesota and state colleges and universities.
“It just shortchanges the kind of investments we need for future of Minnesota,” Dayton said.
Dayton said he’s hopeful some deal on public-works construction can still be reached.