This morning Governor Pawlenty released his proposal for the 2008 bonding bill. He is recommending a $965 million bonding bill, the amount available under the November budget forecast. He did acknowledge that if the February forecast shows a further decline in state revenues then he will adjust his bonding request as needed to stay within the 3% guideline. The 3% guideline means no more than 3% of state general funds will go toward debt service.
The largest component of the Governor’s request is for transportation needs ($416 million). $225 million of these funds will go to replace 600-700 bridges across the state. Higher education ($258 million), natural resources and the environment ($125 million) and economic development ($96 million) make up the bulk of the remaining components of his proposal.
The Governor stated that purely local projects weren’t included in his proposal except for one. The Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC) was included at $40 million and the Governor said that if it wasn’t for previous commitments and promises this project wouldn’t be included either.
Unfortunately, no E-12 projects were included in his recommendations. This means that he didn’t recommend any funding for library accessibility and improvement grants. Furthermore, it doesn’t appear that any of the higher education library related projects were funded in his proposal either. Under the State Colleges & Universities section the Governor recommends $5.775 million for Science Lab Renovations. Hennepin Technical College (Brooklyn Park and Eden Prairie) are listed under this section, but there is no specific reference for library facilities. The other proposals for State Colleges & Universities make no mention of specific library improvements either. The Governor’s focus on Higher Ed is on science and technology facilities.
To see a full description of the Governor’s bonding recommendations you can visit the Department of Finance’s website at:
Samuel P. Walseth
Capitol Hill Associates
Suite 310, 525 Park Street
St. Paul, MN 55103