ST. PAUL—Senate Democrats Thursday failed to find the super-majority needed to pass a borrowing bill, according to a news release from the Senate Republican Caucus.
Senator Rob Farnsworth (R- Hibbing) voted against the bill and made clear that the surplus meant the state could both invest in infrastructure projects and cut taxes for hardworking citizens.
“With a $17.5 billion surplus, I couldn’t agree to put nearly $2 billion on our state credit card before we provide tax relief,” Farnsworth said. “I am committed to getting both a bonding bill and tax cuts done, but Democrats have not made the same commitment to tax cuts. We can, and we should, do both: fund infrastructure and cut taxes.
Sen. Grant Hauschild (DFL-Hermantown) said in a news release Thursday that he was disappointed that Senate Republicans rejected a $1.5 billion bonding bill that would have funded job-creating public works and infrastructure projects across Minnesota. The bill failed to meet the supermajority of 41 votes necessary to pass, with DFL Senators voting yes and all Republican Senators voting no.
“I’m disappointed that my colleagues across the aisle blocked this job-creating bonding bill, despite the fact that the full Iron Range delegation and a bipartisan supermajority passed virtually the same bill in the House of Representatives. This was a fair bonding bill, with an equal number of projects in Republican and DFL districts, and with input from Republicans in both the House and the Senate,’’ Hauschild stated.
The bonding bill, which requires a 3/5 majority or 41 votes, needed seven Senate Republicans to vote for it to pass. Two weeks ago, Senate Republican Leaders made clear they needed to see movement on tax relief before they voted for a bonding bill. Last week, they attempted to bring a bill to eliminate the tax on social security to the floor, which was defeated on a party-line vote.
Senate Democrats today brought their own bill to eliminate the tax on Social Security in a procedural vote to move it one step forward. However, they failed to take the bill up for an actual vote to pass it off the Senate floor and send it to the House for consideration.
“I gladly voted to move a bill for the elimination of the Social Security tax forward, and it’s encouraging to see it get broad support from both parties. Unfortunately, seniors can’t pay their bills with encouragement. We’re halfway through session and Minnesotans still don’t have their much-needed tax relief,” Farnsworth said.
“My one vote wouldn’t have made the difference on the bill passing,” Farnsworth concluded. “Without passing actual tax cuts for Minnesotans, Senate Democrats have failed to earn my support for this bill today. I’ll keep fighting to deliver much-needed tax relief for my district, and to get these important projects funded.”
“Northland communities stood to benefit greatly from the bonding bill after I fought to include over $50 million in funding for our communities. I will keep pushing to pass a bonding bill and deliver on these projects, and I look forward to the opportunity to vote for another bonding bill and get it to the governor’s desk.”
Hauschild’s news release said the bonding bill included the following projects in Senate District 3:
• $1.55 Million—St. Louis County all-terrain vehicle trail systems capital improvements bond issue and appropriation.
• $1 Million—International Falls regional health and wellness center bond issue and appropriation This would provide them planning/design money.
• $2 Million—Babbitt water, sewer and utility improvements bond issue and appropriation.
• $1.5 Million—Bigfork grant bond issue and appropriation for the community center enhancement project.
• $1.75 Million—Hoyt Lakes Community Recreation and Wellness Center improvements bond issue and appropriation.
• $7.745 million for expansions and improvements for the Hermantown Ice Arena.
• $3.633 million for classroom and common space renovations at Vermilion Community College in Ely.
• $3 million to repair and reconstruct the Nett Lake Dam in Koochiching County.
• $11 million for several infrastructure improvements at the Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park, including the design and construction of a visitor center, camping facilities and trails, among other improvements.
• $4 million for construction of the Gitchi Gami Trail.
• $3.5 million for the construction of a safe harbor on Rainy Lake and Rainy River at the Gateway to Voyageurs National Park in Ranier.
• $1.294 million for Crane Lake Water and Sanitary District debt retirement to bring the district’s monthly wastewater rates in line with those of similarly situated facilities across the state.
• $12.2 million for upgrades to snowmaking infrastructure at Giants Ridge.
• $1.8 million for water, sewer, and utilities extensions at Rice Lake.
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