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ST. PAUL – State Representative Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont) said it was easy to vote against a $255 million Minnesota House Capital Investment bill because it prioritized the Twin Cities and ignored Greater Minnesota.
“Its clear that the era of partisan politics has returned to the State Capitol,” Gunther said. “These Metro Area Democrats couldn’t care less about working with Republicans on a responsible bonding bill.”
Gunther noted that the legislature is only supposed to bond for up to three percent of the state budget – in this case that number is $135 million. This bill exceeds that amount by $120 million. Secondly, a good share of the projects in the bill are paid for in cash from Minnesota’s General Fund – meaning it won’t be used on more pressing needs like K-12 education and nursing homes.
But what bothered Gunther the most was the partisanship that was displayed in the bill. Gunther said the largest portion of the bill pays for Twin Cities transit needs. He also noted that $58 million is used to fund pet projects for first-year Democratic representatives. In the entire bill, only $4.8 million is spent on rural area projects that are represented by Republicans.
“Remember, House Democrats are also trying to use nearly all of the 40% dedication of the Motor Vehicle Sales Tax for urban transit as well,” Gunther said. “Take all that funding and the proceeds from this bonding bill, and they ought to be floating with money for their Twin Cities buses that drive around half-empty.”
“With the large majority the Democrats have in the House, they were able to thumb their noses at Republicans with this bill,” Gunther said. “Hopefully, Governor Pawlenty will veto it as soon as it reaches his desk.”
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