The Minnesota House of Representatives passed a $1.1 billion bonding bill Monday night. The bill passed by a bi-partisan 92 to 37 vote, despite a veto threat by Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
Although the bill got a few Republican votes, it still faced opposition from the GOP, including Rep. Keith Downey, of Edina.
"It's disingenuous at best to assert that this bonding bill is going to create 21,000 jobs in our economy and also assert to the general public that those 21,000 jobs are new jobs," Downey said. "Jobs that wouldn't have occurred if we hadn't left that money in the private economy for investment through individual enterprise."
Added to the bill was a proposal to expand Minnesota's sex offender lockup in Moose Lake, putting the project in play heading into talks with the state Senate.
The bill is nearly half again as large as the spending plan the Governor proposed earlier this year.
Overall, the bill makes improvements and repairs to bridges, dams, classrooms, and clean water infrastructure.
Democrats argue that the bill will get out-of-work Minnesotans working on school and university improvements, road construction and other projects. They also said low interest rates make this a good time to borrow money for capital improvements.
"We asked ourselves the question, how do we get ready as a state for when the economy improves," said DFLer Alice Hausman. "And those three priorities: higher education, transportation and clean water, are absolutely the pieces of infrastructure that get us ready for when the economy recovers."
(MPR reporters Phil Picardi and Tom Scheck contributed to this report.)