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Bonding bill includes 2 UMM projects

Although not completely pleased with it, Gov. Mark Dayton signed the bonding bill that includes $3.2 million to renovate Blakely Hall and the humanities building at the University of Minnesota Morris.

While the $825 million bonding bill provides needed money for deserving projects in state, it falls short of filling the need, Dayton said in a May 31 telephone news conference.

"One of my main criticisms of the bill is what it didn't fund," Dayton said.

The bonding bill isn't enough to pay for needed upkeep of buildings on the campus of the University of Minnesota system or the Minnesota State University system, Dayton said.

UMM will receive $3.2 to upgrade two buildings but it had hoped for $4.2 million.

In a Jan. 20 story in the Stevens County Times, Bryan Herrmann, the vice chancellor for finance and facilities, said the campus had requested $4.2 million to upgrade the two buildings in an overall package submitted by the U of Minnesota system.

Dayton had proposed a $1.5 billion bonding bill but the Legislature trimmed that proposal.

Not only did the Legislature cut the governor's proposed bonding bill, the Republican controlled majorities in the Legislature also created flaws in the bill, Dayton said.

"I signed the bill despite the misguided way it was handled," Dayton said.

The Legislature added money for projects by subverting a review by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources and pulled $98 million from the trust fund to pay for other projects, Dayton said. That's a bad precedent to set, Dayton said.

A May 30 statement released by Rep. Jeff Backer, R-Browns Valley, said "The bonding package the Legislature put together this year includes a number of good investments that rebuild and repair critical infrastructure around the state."