Senate DFLers introduced a 2020 jobs bill this week at a Capitol press conference. With less than two weeks left of session and no bonding hearings scheduled in the Senate, they expressed an urgency in getting a bonding bill passed. Minnesota has more than $5 billion in requests to improve our crumbling public buildings and infrastructure across our state, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made the urgency for the jobs these investments will create even greater.
Make no mistake, the political games Senate Republicans are playing now is no coincidence. Over the last three years, Senate bonding bills have lacked transparency resulting in confusion, bills not passing, and important projects being delayed.
If there was ever a time to pass a robust bonding bill, it’s now. The Senate DFL $2.3 billion capital improvements bill will ensure access to safe drinking water, affordable housing, public safety, and upkeep for the higher education institutions that prepare our future workforce in all four corners of the state. Passing a bonding bill will help address the need for infrastructure improvements and create the local jobs and economic stimulus our state needs during this public health crisis.
Bonding is about building stronger, more vibrant communities. Unfortunately, it seems House and Senate Republicans are holding up much-needed jobs from passing. We cannot become comfortable with the idea that political posturing is more important than the well-being of Minnesotans.
House Republicans have publicly said they will actively block a bonding bill from passing unless they get something in return, and their ask isn’t small. They’re asking the governor to give up his ability to quickly and effectively respond to a public health crisis. In the Senate, repeated attempts by DFL caucus leaders to communicate with the capital investment chair have been met with silence.
It’s unconscionable that state Republicans are more comfortable holding thousands of jobs hostage, during a time when jobs are needed the most, than they are with working with the governor, Senate DFL Caucus, and the House to ensure the safety and security of our communities.
Equity in bonding is crucial in passing a robust bonding bill that benefits Minnesotans in every corner of the state. In order to ensure the diverse communities across our state are thriving, we must invest in meaningful initiatives that support communities of color. Bonding investments are critical for communities and this legislative proposal is a testament to the Senate DFL’s commitment to ensure no one is left is behind.
The Senate DFL is actively working with the governor and House leaders to lead the charge on passing a robust bonding bill that is good for all Minnesota communities. Their prudent and fiscally sound investments will address our backlog of needs, is regionally balanced, will create local jobs, and provide our communities sorely needed economic stimulus during and beyond this public health crisis. (SF 4573)