The Senate Finance Committee approved a measure to clarify a key funding formula tied to state aid for the Rochester/Mayo Clinic Destination Medical Center (DMC) project. Under the clarifying language, the private investments that serve as a trigger to state funding would be counted cumulatively, not on a year-to-year basis. Although the change seems technical, it has potentially large implications. Without legislative action, the amount of private investment required to leverage a projected 20-year total of $455 million in state aid might have jumped by billions.
The bill also clarifies statute regarding the City of Rochester’s costs in preparing the DMC development plan. The change allows Rochester to pay for the development plan with state aid or count it toward the city’s $128 million local match required to qualify for state aid.
Legislators were forced to revisit the issue this year following a September 2014 opinion from Attorney General Lori Swanson. The opinion said current law required the calculation of each year’s state subsidies on the basis of the previous year’s private investment totals alone. The change in law was needed because the legislative intent was for this to be figured on a cumulative basis. (S.F. 52)