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Let bonding bill really put Minnesota to work

The Minnesota Legislature failed to pass a bonding bill last year when it was supposed to.

But interest rates remain low, meaning bonding remains ridiculously affordable; the state's bond rating is an impressive AAA; its available bonding capacity is an even more impressive $3 billion; and Minnesotans statewide have requested more than $3.7 billion of work via state bonding to fix schools, improve parks and keep up and build up other public spaces and infrastructure.

So why then — with the need in Minnesota so great, with inaction leaving us further behind on maintenance, and with the clear ability to responsibly invest now — are the Republicans in charge of the Minnesota Legislature talking about a bonding bill this session of less than $1 billion? That is, if they agree to support a public works package at all?

Even the governor's $1.5 billion bonding proposal seems inadequate and a shortchanging of Minnesotans — and it would put 23,000 Minnesotans to work, the governor claimed.

House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Springfield. And she testified before the House Jobs and Energy Committee.

Among the projects proposed, Wadena's M State campus is mentioned as needing a new library and student development design and renovation.

The Legislature usually passes major bonding bills in even-numbered years, but the House and Senate failed to agree on one in the final minutes of the 2016 session. The governor and House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, could not reach a deal on that and other issues for a summer or fall special session. Countless communities across the state have similar lists of similarly worthy and long-needed projects. Overspending can be avoided, of course, but responsible, necessary spending has to be embraced. And with needs so great and fiscal indicators so favorable, Minnesotans can expect the do-it-right, put-more-of-us-to-work bonding bill this year that they didn't get last year.