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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Bud Nornes (R)

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LOCAL PROJECTS SURVIVE BONDING BILL CUTS

Monday, April 07, 2008
To the editor: Local projects will be funded even though Gov. Pawlenty made $208 million in cuts to the bonding bill Monday. With aid from the bonding bill – as well as a federal contribution – the Fergus Falls Veteran’s Home plans to add a 21-bed wing and additional space for the Veterans Affairs (VA) clinic. Meantime, bonding bill funding could help the Fergus Falls library. In addition, an 11,300-square-foot addition would help the Fergus Falls library expand its services. The University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system both are big winners in the bill. The state economist recommended the bonding bill be no larger than $825 million and it was about $100 million above that limit. Pawlenty cut the bill down to less than $717 million, but preserved funding for local projects pertaining to a veterans home, library and wastewater infrastructure. Cuts included the Central Corridor, Northshore Express, high speed rail to Chicago, Bell Museum landscaping, gorilla cages and a brass band sheet music museum. It’s questionable why these projects were in the bonding bill to begin with. It looked like the governor was being set up by the majority party to look like the bad guy by having to make cuts or by choosing to veto the entire bonding bill. We actually should thank the governor, who bonded for our necessities and cut out the frivolous pet projects. With a $1 billion deficit forecast for Minnesota, responsible spending is in order and that’s where we all can agree. Sincerely, Bud Nornes State Representative
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