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Gov. Dayton Responds To Mayo’s Multi-Billion Dollar Plan

Posted at: 01/30/2013 10:43 PM
Updated at: 01/30/2013 10:48 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- It's Minnesota's largest private employer, giving jobs to more than 30,000 people. Monday, we learned details on Mayo Clinic’s plan to double that number.

It is a very ambitious proposal that requires more than a half billion dollars in public financing, but one Mayo Clinic says will bring big rewards.

Mayo says its 20 year "Destination Medical Center" expansion plan will have a total economic impact to Minnesota exceeding $45 billion. It says it would add 35,000 to 45,000 new jobs (the majority in southeast Minnesota) and as much as $3 billion in additional tax revenue to the state.

In order for this to go through, Governor Dayton says it'll need bipartisan support. The overall investment is one worth roughly $6 billion. Money they say will come from Mayo, private entities that work with the clinic, and the public.

"Mayo Clinic in Minnesota is the leading brand in health care in the world," said CEO and President of Mayo Clinic Dr. John Noseworthy. That's what brought him to the governor’s office Wednesday. Knowing Mayo's potential, he plans to make it the "world destination" for health care.

"When we're attracting patients and their families from 50 states and more than 100 countries each year, the community has to be able to support them in means such as hospitality, transportation, entertainment, that sort of thing," said Dr. Noseworthy.

He's talking about not only investing in the clinic, but the city of Rochester. This is something Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede is all for. "The city will financially support this of course, and obviously we have skin in the game with the $20 million that we had in our sales tax extension referendum this year," said Mayor Brede.

Not to mention, Mayo Clinic says it'll generate roughly $3 billion in tax revenue for the state. "Quality jobs in science, medicine, research, travel and hospitality," said Dr. Noseworthy.

Certainly an investment Governor Dayton agrees with. "I can't stress the importance of this overall. I don't know if this is the right financing mechanism," said Gov. Dayton. He says he'll have to go over the proposal with a fine comb.

"50% from the Mayo Clinic, roughly $3 billion, and we estimate another $3 billion will be coming in from other private investors," said Dr. Noseworthy.

A massive request that Governor Dayton knows will be quite the task this legislative session. "Well it's just under $600 million over 20 years, that's averaged out to over $30 million a year. I can’t commit future governors, the legislature can't commit future legislatures," said Gov. Dayton.

However, Mayo officials did say they have other options, like their Arizona and Florida locations. "Mayo Clinic has been in Minnesota for 148 years. It's a fabulous environment for us, a great community. We're looking ahead, to plan where we're looking to continue to grow. We want to grow in Minnesota. We need to know we have the public support to help us with the infrastructure to make that possible," said Dr. Noseworthy.

So far ABC 6 has spoken with several lawmakers including a number from our area who say they support this expansion. However, Governor Dayton says he won't have an answer until the end of the legislative session.