SAINT PAUL, Minn. – In Senate floor action on Thursday Senate Republicans voted down more than $1.5 billion in public funding for local infrastructure, public housing, higher education assets, and other projects throughout the state that would create good-paying union jobs in Rochester and every corner of Minnesota. “This is only the latest sign that Senate Republicans are unwilling to put the needs of people above politics,” said Senator Liz Boldon (DFL-Rochester).
“I am bitterly disappointed that Senate Republicans chose to block more than $1.5 billion in state funding for Minnesota today, including several million dollars for our community that would have created jobs and addressed issues facing critical infrastructure throughout our state,” said Sen. Boldon. “Despite bipartisan support for this bill in the House, my colleagues across the aisle made it clear they are against good jobs, against economic development, and against the needs of their constituents by refusing to come together and pass this bill.”
Today’s proposal included $11.4 million for improvements to Rochester International Airport, $10 million for a waste materials recovery facility for Olmsted County, as well as state funding for housing and infrastructure needs that would benefit Rochester and Southeastern Minnesota. Senate Republicans claimed during debate that they would not support this bill without tax cuts that would disproportionately benefit the wealthy tied to it, while the House Republican Capital Investment Chair urged support for a bonding bill as one way to keep property taxes from rising.
“Since the last bonding bill, interest rates have only increased and public assets have only continued to deteriorate, making these projects more and more expensive and urgent,” said Sen. Boldon. “My colleagues across the aisle, including Senator Carla Nelson, cannot say they support these projects only to vote against them on the floor. I urge them to show their support when it matters, but I’m asking them to be honest to their constituents about why they chose to block today’s bill.”
A bonding bill requires a higher threshold to pass due to the selling of state bonds to finance these projects. Requiring 41 votes to pass, the bill failed to garner any Republican votes. There may be an opportunity to take the bill up at a future date, but the fate of projects in the bill, including Rochester International Airport and a proposed waste materials recovery facility for Olmsted County, is uncertain.