ST. PAUL – Should Minnesota borrow $1 billion to help fund statewide construction projects while facing a $6.2 billion budget deficit? Governor Mark Dayton thinks so, having recently unveiled his $1 billion capital investment proposal.
State Representative Greg Davids (R-Preston), who chairs the powerful Minnesota House Taxes Committee, said the governor’s approach is fiscally irresponsible.
“It’s somewhat ironic that the governor chastised the Minnesota House for passing a bill that eliminates $1 billion from our budget shortfall,” Davids said. “The governor seems to think that the deficit needs to be eliminated all at once at the end of the year. Yet he wants to borrow $1 billion now before we begin to address our budget crisis? Where is the consistency?”
Dayton’s bill would borrow $531 million for projects he wants constructed, and then asks the Legislature to find other projects totaling $470 million.
Davids said bonding bills have been approved in five out of the last six years – historically bonding proposals are approved in even-numbered years – costing the state billions and doing little to improve Minnesota’s job climate. Because of this, Minnesota will spend more than $1 billion in debt service payments over the next two years, another reason why Minnesota’s budget deficit is at an all time high.
“The Legislature has borrowed $6 billion for bonding proposals over the past six years, with $1.1 billion of that amount sitting in limbo because the projects haven’t been started,” Davids said. “As chair of the Taxes committee, I am constantly asked to look for ways to eliminate our current and future budget problems. Not borrowing another $1 billion this year might be a good place to start.”