ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton asked Minnesota’s GOP-led Legislature to borrow $1 billion for construction projects on Monday, pitching civic centers, a minor league baseball park, college labs and flood protection measures as a way to create jobs.

The Democratic governor unveiled his first bonding recommendations with a twist by outlining his preferences for $531 million worth of projects and offering lawmakers the chance to fill in the rest. He urged the Legislature to pass a bill within weeks so work can begin when winter ends — a prospect that top Republicans ruled out unless emergencies arise.

“These are public bonds that create jobs in the private sector,” Dayton said at a Capitol news conference packed with city officials, union representatives, college students and construction workers in hard hats.

Dayton predicted the full-size package of state-backed public works would create as many as 28,000 jobs, a figure met with skepticism from the Legislature’s GOP leaders. They also weren’t enticed by the governor’s offer to propose their own construction priorities. Minnesota is facing a projected $6.2 billion shortfall over the next two years.

“It’s not a gift card for us. It’s the taxpayers’ money that is being borrowed for construction jobs,” said House Majority Leader Matt Dean, R-Dellwood.

Public works packages are called bonding bills because the state borrows the money by issuing bonds.

Dayton’s requests include $51 million for a nanotechnology laboratory at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, $28 million to upgrade Rochester’s Mayo Civic Center and $20 million for a new St. Paul Saints ballpark in St. Paul. Civic centers in Mankato and St. Cloud would also get a bonding boost. Dayton said he picked projects based on their readiness and included repairs that could be done quickly.

“It’s 400 construction jobs that would be immediate, probably within the month. They are ready to go,” said Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede of the Mayo Civic Center project, thanking Dayton for including it in his proposal.

One of the smaller items is $600,000 for a new stoplight in Thief River Falls near Digi-Key Corp., a business that all major gubernatorial candidates touted during the campaign as a Minnesota success story. Dayton even offered to dig the hole for the stoplight, which he says would help facilitate the company’s expansion.

Also on the list: a $7 million renovation in St. Peter to house a growing number of sex offenders committed to treatment after prison time. There are also roads and bridges and repairs to college, park, prison and veterans buildings.

Republicans said the focus should be on Minnesota’s deficit and private-sector jobs. They didn’t rule out legislative approval for bonding projects considered urgent, such as flood protection. They also plan hearings to probe unspent balances from past bonding bill projects that never got off the ground and possibly recoup that money.

“We’re saying no to a bonding bill unless it’s an emergency at this time,” said House Capital Investment Committee Chairman Larry Howes, R-Walker.

Dayton said he would sign a smaller bonding bill into law if the Legislature sends it to him.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (46)
  1. Kevin says:

    Spend…spend…spend….spend…spend…..spend….spend….spend……how about telling us how your not going to spend 1 billion dollars?????

    1. Thomas Keim says:

      and what are you going to do with thousands of unemployed people put them on welfareand tell their kids you dont eat next week

  2. Doug says:

    What?!? Go with user fees, not my tax dollars for places that I will never go.

    1. Thomas Keim says:

      i guess you will be staying home

  3. Bob says:

    Just stop spending for a while, please give us a break.

  4. Sam says:

    Good grief where does he plan on borrowing the money from. Stop spending and cut up the credit cards. For once – live within OUR means.

    1. Thomas Keim says:

      that is stupid cost go up and we should sit on our ass

  5. Barb says:

    I should pay for items such as these including college labs when my child’s entire college program is being cut???

    1. Thomas Keim says:

      get another program her program was cut because of no money or there is no jobs for that career because people like you dont want money spent for getting jobs going but when illegals come here and take the money with them and dont spend it here you say nothing move to hati they dont spend money there either and of coarse they dont have anything there either

  6. Dave says:

    These clowns just dont get it!!!

  7. Angel says:

    EVERYONE… “okay, stop the spending… and meanwhile:

    people are still not working (bonding projects would pay wages for jobs for people in those areas).

    Mn colleges continue to fall further behind in education (modernizing facilities will allow MN colleges to teach new and emerging technologies).

    why do these people not get it…

    1. Rob says:

      Oh we get it. It’s called redistributing the wealth to the poor. Last I checked, this is America, we have the right to be wealthy. If you want to be redistributed, go to Cuba. They have 100% health care and 100% literacy rate.

      1. Patrick Lilja says:

        And people have the right to not suffer. That was a very selfish thing to say.

    2. Matt says:

      Patrick, I wanted to clarify something about your comment. “And people have the right to not suffer.”

      You are correct they have a right not to suffer, but they can do that by going out and getting a job or an education or learning a trade. It is NOT the governments job to create jobs for people. It’s their job to stay out of the way so jobs can be created. That is the right that we have as citizens, not the right to have things handed out for free.

      As for Rob, he is 100% accurate we have a right to be wealthy, in fact that’s the American dream, unfortunately those who work hard to become wealthy are treated like the problem, or “they should pay their fair share” as our governor would say. It’s class warfare against those who work the hardest.

      I’m not rich, but work my backside off everyday to someday be there, the last thing I want is government taking it away when I get there.

      1. Thomas Keim says:

        when you have to deal with the stupid people on here who want to permote welfare and not jobs the few well educated people in this state have to feed them this takes money from your pocket why because they dont want the govenor to invest the tax payers money that dont belong to them in the first place it belongs to the government because tyou have to pay taxes so there and we need to invest it in minnesota and not mexico or china but here for us and fix our roads before more people are killed including your familys unless you dont care about them

    3. Thomas Keim says:

      simple they dont have an education weak mind strong back and a trail going to the mail box to get their food stamps

    4. John Boy says:

      OK Angel, how about you pay for it?
      There are no free lunches and these projects are always expensive lunches. Why do the Saints need a new ballpark? $6000,000 for a stoplight? The roads are full of potholes why don’t we focus on maintaining what we have? I’m tired of borrowing from tomorrow for today’s wants. All the borrowing has to be repaid–with interest. If we don’t have money today why do think that we’ll have money tomorrow?

      1. Thomas Keim says:

        people go to ball games and buy tickets the money goes back for taxes 60,000 or what ever isnt nothing how many people will it employ how much materials will it take to build it how much sales tax will be paid bac how much income tax will be paid back from the people who manufacture the products to build this park how much taxes will be collected from the workers for doing the job not counting permits if you figure all that up you get the tax money back 3 folds plus what you make off the ticket sales

  8. Matt says:

    Did everyone forget how much good the economic stimulus did at creating jobs and getting people back to work, laugh… Why not just do our own version on a bunch of projects that should be paid for with fee’s and tuition, not government spending. I realize that an odd year bonding bill is business as usually over in St Paul, but business as usual is what got us and the rest of the nation into this issue, maybe it’s time for a change.

    If we are going to take out a $1b bond we should use the money to fix our pitiful roads and pay our bills, but honestly I don’t even think that is worth it.

  9. Kevin says:

    Construction = Unions……Unions = political support…..also construction + unions = government employees….so what the clueless Dayton is doing is increasing government in his own little way….

    1. Greg says:

      Unions make up less than 10% of the work force..Look it up.

      1. joe says:

        and get 100 percent of state and government funded jobs

  10. You Must Be Joking says:

    It is difficult to put into words how absolutely ludicrous Gov Goofey’s proposal is…what is he thinking, except building up a list of ridiculous spend project to negotiate with. Is it too early to start the recall process?

  11. Kathy says:

    So, my husband and I are blue collar workers,just making ends meet, with two children in college!!! Grateful for having a older home to live in, and food on the table! Please explain to me how this will effect my husband and I? Common sense tells us that we need to budget our priorties!!! Should we not be looking at how to cut ridiculous spending, and get back to 1980’s spending. I would imagine if “we the people” new the excessive spending that goes on just in our litte state, it would be enough to cause our blood to burn!!!

    1. Thomas Keim says:

      it works like this get the unemployed back to work so they can get incomes they pay taxes and stay off welfare and unemployment and your property taxes dont go up and you get to keep your house how does that sound a bad economy effect everyone even blue collar workers where ever you work or do your place of business relies on other people to buy their goods if they dont buy you dont have a job it is simple what goes around comes around do the math

      1. John Boy says:

        But where does the money come from to pay for it?
        Think about it. Where does wealth originate? Wealth is not created by government, education, health care, insurance, housing, entertainment, or retail stores. All of these things spend wealth, they use up wealth, they don’t create it. Basic wealth only comes from what is mined or extracted out of the ground, grown, or had value added to something through production labor. For example, taking cotton and turning it into clothing. Our economy no longer creates enough wealth (manufacturing jobs sent overseas, or eliminated) to service all the debt we have created and that’s why on average we are getting poorer. Borrowing more from the future is entirely unsustainable given how much total debt is already in the system and how little real productive capacity we have to repay it.out. Digging deeper will not help, only make matters worse in the future.

      2. Nancy L says:

        Government doesn’t “invest” in anything, it just spends our money. If the wealthier keep more of their money, and so does everyone else, they will “invest” in other companies through the stock market and through business expansion, and if lesser than rich people keep some of their money, instead of being taxed higher, they will spend it at the new businesses and also give to the needy. People with less money are actually the ones who are the most charitable. So there will be more people working, more people giving to each other, and more businesses staying in Minnesota instead of moving to SD and ND because of their great corporate friendliness. Class warfare is rampant here, and it isn’t logical to restrict businesses when you need jobs. Let the private sector build stadiums, they will do it cheaper and better. If the Saints NEED a new ballpark, let them get investors. Private investments keep people honest in how much something costs to get built. If a company thinks it is the “government” then they start padding the costs.

  12. Terry Sande says:

    Is Dayton really that dumb that he believes that only those who live in MN will be hired for those construction jobs? I can see it now…construction companies from outside of MN and construction employees from outside of MN will get these jobs. Then us MN taxpayers will foot the bill. Was MN really that dumb to elect someone who would make us pay for that bill?

    1. Thomas Keim says:

      thats the keythe construction bids will have to just go for minnesota companies and tax people from wisconsin who come here for jobs they should stay in wisconsin and work

  13. Bob says:

    Don’t think just obey…..

  14. DEW says:

    So everyone against any of this. Not to spend good idea, cut the budget ok. Sounds good, but what areas should get the cuts????? No one wants there items cut. RIGHT WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND.?????????????

    1. Thomas Keim says:

      well dew how about we start with the old we kill all the old people in the nursing homes then we pass a law any one 60 years and older have to be put to sleep if they dont have a retirement account to support their selves because we got to cut out social security and if any one cant afford medical well they got to die we have to cut money for medical ok now we cut welfare because their a lilibility they collect and dont put back into the system and they get to claim their kids on income taxes and dont have to pay in or claim their welfare income all ofthis will save millions oh yes and mandatory abortions for people who have more than 2 kids like china has this will work

  15. Thomas Keim says:

    we need the jobs in minnesota the jobs create tax revenue and gets paid back into the system through income taxes from the workers and also creates other jobs who cares if you never use the place i never been to the dome either but it made money .our roads need to be fixed it creates jobs and makes it safer to get around unless you like swiming in the rivers with your kids with a bridge on top of you . or we can spend all the money on chinese products and send it there or to mexico and put construction workers and other people on welfare

    1. John Boy says:

      Thomas K, I am afraid that you have no understanding of how real economics works.. Don’t feel badly, neither do many politicians, apparently.
      When you borrow money for something that is productive, say a snowplow. Using that plow to earn money will give you the ability to repay your loan. If you borrowed money to buy a boat you probably will need to repay the loan from something else as the boat will not produce anything that allows you to repay the loan. It is a consumer good.
      These projects that Dayton supports do not produce anything that will allow the loans to be repaid. They are consumer goods.

  16. Cache says:

    Obozo Insane Obumbler tried this and called it stimulus(Spent Trillions$$)…it didn’t work. So the Governor Mental Midget is going to do it again…absolute Stupidity! Cut taxes…Cut spending… The real jobs will return! One cannot borrow on the credit card to pay one’s salary!!!!

  17. Thomas Keim says:

    catche how will the jobs come back when they all are in china who is going to work for 8.00 an hour when there is nothing left in the state it takes money to make money get the state up and running get people off welfare and cut welfare everyone then pays taxes except indiand ,farmers,churches wich need to chance also if you dont boost the economy it wont get any where look at california mexicans are pouring into the state and taking the cash out no taxes and no jobs we are heading in that direction and then its like egypt a war here thats coming too

    1. Weak Mind:Strong Back says:

      Dear TK,
      You should obviously run for president since you know how everyone and everything works….

    2. Mudduck says:

      TK, apparently you think farmers do not pay taxes. Keep up with your comments as it shows your complete lack of intelligence reagarding economics. Government investment in creating jobs only create jobs for a period of time until funding stops. Private sector investment creates long term jobs as well as creates wealth.

  18. Watching insanity bloom says:

    600 k for a stupid stoplight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! EVEYHING in this story is for government!!! That’s all that will be left when everyone else leaves. Give me back the key to the Capitol liquor cabinet. Instead of expanding the St Peter facility, build a new, very large one for the politicians.

  19. bob says:

    The republicans better do what they were put in off for and thats cut the budget. The message was clear at the polls and will be again if they don’t start trimming the fat. And don’t give me this create jobs by using tax dollars as the salary, thats the most moronic statement I’ve ever heard and the people are not buying it anymore.

  20. Tom says:

    Sounds like Dayton goes to the economic school of Obama, did he use the phrase ” shovel ready jobs “

  21. RIII says:

    This is nothing more than Governor Grimace paying back the Unions that helped him get elected. The projects do nothing to create real jobs and will only add to a tax burden that is chasing businesses out of Minnesota.

  22. Kate says:

    Where is the job stimulus for women? Construction jobs, Construction jobs, Construction jobs. We need jobs too. Times have changed….it’s 2011 not 1929. Don’t make decisions based on 1929 when women stayed at home . We got enough of the construction jobs creatiion from Obama’s trillions of spending. Why not reach out to help everyone.

  23. Jeff Lane says:

    Gov. Mark Dayton is asking Minnesota lawmakers to borrow $1 billion for state-backed construction projects, which will certainly help unemployment for construction workers. This gives me a sense of hope – hopefully not a false one. Numerous projects are needed to maintain and expand the current economic situation which will not be able to move forward without a significant, long-term boost in funding. Construction projects would support numerous jobs. I think it is sad how many job cuts there have been on the Minnesota Construction Projects currently ongoing. It is so hard to find jobs right now, though I have seen a recent improvement. However, this has been due to a resource I found, not any change in the economy. I recently learned about Dodge Projects, which has detailed listings of available jobs. They are even sorted by type, project and by state, so you can quickly see what jobs are right for you. If you are looking for work, I would definitely recommend them.

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