ST. PAUL, Minn. - Gov. Mark Dayton is asking the Legislature to pony up for public construction projects.
The Democratic governor unveiled his $1.5 billion wish list Wednesday of infrastructure upgrades, new buildings and early learning centers. The major borrowing package comes just a day into the legislative session and after the Legislature failed to pass such a package last year.
Besides funding needed projects, Dayton and Lt. Governor Tina Smith say it will create nearly 23,000 jobs and stimulate the economy.
“My proposals would put thousands of Minnesotans to work throughout our state, increasing economic opportunity and strengthening local economies,” said the Governor. “This bill will help deliver clean, reliable water to Minnesota communities, ensure our higher education institutions have the facilities they need to train our workforce, and build community projects across our state. I urge the Legislature to pass this Jobs Bill quickly, to support our local economies and create good jobs across the state.”
“Our top priority is to expand opportunity through an economy that works for everyone, everywhere in Minnesota,” added Smith. “This bill will invest in classrooms for our students, affordable housing for more Minnesotans, and expanded, improved operations for Minnesota farmers. These community construction projects will strengthen our local economies and improve opportunities for all Minnesotans.”
The so-called "Jobs Bill" is slightly larger than the proposal Dayton had last year and likely won't impress the Republicans who control the House and Senate. Legislative leaders pushed the governor to slim the package down to $1 billion in 2016 and have questioned whether a bill is in the cards this year.
Dayton says the state has fallen behind in construction and shouldn't slip more in 2017.