(KNSI) – A local legislator says the Minnesota House will eventually have a very different bonding proposal than what was unveiled by Governor Tim Walz Tuesday.
St. Cloud area representative Dan Wolgamott says you can expect it to be a more traditional capital budget with a focus on local projects. “We’ll be putting together our own proposal in the house. I’m a member of the Capital Investment Committee, and we are committed to really making sure that we fund local projects all throughout the state. And, of course, I’ve been a tireless advocate for our downtown St. Cloud, the CentraCare Medical School, and other local projects to our region.”
The state senate will also be working on its version of the bill and then negotiations will take place to come up with a final draft that all sides can agree to. The bonding bill requires a 60% supermajority for approval, which means it must be bipartisan given the current makeup of the legislature.
Wolgamott says he likes several aspects of the Walz budget, including the focus on asset preservation. “We like to get excited about the big ribbon cuttings and grand openings, but we know how important it is to take care of what we’ve got. And, right now in St. Cloud, we have a huge need for that, particularly over at the Herb Brooks National Hockey center. The refrigeration system there is actually older than I am, from the ’80s.”
When asked about Walz’s plan to include set-asides and other grant funding that executive agencies would dole out to local applicants, Wolgamott said the legislature’s version would involve individual line items for each approved project, and legislators rather than bureaucrats would determine them.
The Walz capital budget included no earmarks and allotted about $40 million for local projects.
Wolgamott stressed the need to come together over the bonding bill because the funding equates to jobs and other immediate benefits from the investments.
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