Senator Kari Dziedzic (DFL-Minneapolis) voted in support of a $1.37 billion Capital Investment Bill today that provides critical funding to move Minnesota’s economy forward by putting more people to work, making critical investments in transit, housing, and higher education. The bill passed today will finance more than $1.87 billion in statewide public projects, once other funding sources are counted. There were $5 billion in bonding requests to improve crumbling public buildings and infrastructure across our state.
In response to the bill passing, Sen. Dziedzic released the following statement:
“The Minnesota Senate passed a long overdue bonding bill today. Although I have concerns about combining the Capital Investment Bill, the Tax Bill, and the Supplemental Bill, and the timing of some of the tax provisions, the overall final package is a positive step forward. The bill is a compromise and will help workers across our state.
This local jobs and projects bill is about building stronger, more vibrant communities. COVID-19 has exacerbated the economic inequality that already existed. The legislation passed today will fund hundreds of public construction projects around Minnesota and create thousands of jobs. The bill includes transit projects that will help people get to their job and much-needed funding for housing.
We have a housing crisis in this state. I am particularly pleased we were able to secure $100 million in Housing Infrastructure Bonds for affordable housing projects for Minnesota. That is the largest capital investment the state has made in housing. It is a game changer. Housing Infrastructure Bonds are dedicated to building new housing and preserving existing housing for Minnesotans at the lowest income levels. The bill also includes $16 million for public housing maintenance.
The bill includes supplemental budget investments to ensure untested rape kits get tested. It will bring some relief for survivors and help bring justice to sexual predators. This bill is something I worked on and I am pleased we are finally going to receive the necessary funds to reduce the backlog of the testing, provide storage of restricted kits, and develop a website for sexual assault survivors to learn the testing status of their sexual assault examination kit.
Other supplemental budget funding in this bill will fund Direct Care and Treatment programs at the Department of Human Services and provide temporary pay increases for personal care assistants who care for vulnerable Minnesotans. Additionally, $30 million is allocated to help improve and promote equity in communities across the state. That is a huge step in the right direction.
Several local projects are in the bill. The University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development will receive a $29.2 million appropriation to build a modern facility to support early childhood development programs. Currently, the program is housed in several buildings. The new, modern facility will be housed in one building and will help better prepare students to bring science-based solutions to classrooms, communities, and families.
There is $5 million in the bill for area regional parks and trails improvements, $800,000 for City of Minneapolis Emergency Training Center, and $8.5 million for a much-needed central city storm tunnel. The construction of a new storm tunnel will reduce the risk of tunnel failures, decrease long-term maintenance, and help decrease runoff into the Mississippi River.
The bill contains some tax provisions including making full section 179 expensing on like-kind exchanges (trade-ins), retroactive for tax years 2018 and 2019. Changes to the federal tax code in 2017 created a problem in Minnesota because they required trade-in value to be counted as income. I support this fix to help small businesses.
The bill takes care of our state-owned assets, addresses inequities in funding for our communities, and creates much-needed jobs to boost our economy harmed by the pandemic.”