Some of Dayton's Bonding Bill Proposals May Face Controversy

Updated: 01/15/2014 8:34 PM By: Cassie Hart

Debate about hundreds of millions of dollars of building projects dominated talk at the Minnesota State Capitol Wednesday.  

Governor Mark Dayton’s proposal for nearly a billion dollars of new building projects was released Monday. Dayton says his package of building projects in the bonding bill will create 27,000 jobs.

He proposes $986 million worth of projects. $233 million would be dedicated to the University of Minnesota and state colleges. $126 million would be used to finish restoration of the capitol.

However, there are $210 million for local government projects that are likely to be among the most controversial.

The list includes civic center expansion projects in Rochester, Mankato and St. Cloud for a combined $63 million. Also among controversial projects is the Expansion of the Children's Museum in St. Paul for $14 million, the Palace Theater in St. Paul for $6 million, along with several other projects in the cities around the state.

"Downtown revitalization is crucial to the city’s economic vitality and also the surrounding region,” said Gov. Dayton.

The most controversial project at the state capitol isn't in the bonding bill, it's the $63 million senate office building that was included in the tax bill last year.

The design gained a senate committee's approval Wednesday but not without major pushback from Republican senators.

"This project is very large, is very encompassing. Lots of issues that should be vetted. Should have those discussions, those debates, but they never happened. At least they never happened publicly," said Sen. David Hahn.

For a bonding bill to pass, it will have to attract Republican votes in the Democratic-led House and Senate.

See the governor's capital budget recommendations here.