The Minnesota House has passed a revamped $1 billion bonding bill that Gov. Tim Pawlenty is ready to trim and sign.
The Republican governor backed off from a threat to veto the entire bill after DFL leaders added some of his priority construction projects. The vote today was 89 to 44.
During the floor debate, DFL Rep. Alice Hausman of St. Paul said critics have wrongly compared the bonding bill to using a family credit card for short-term spending. Hausman said it's more like taking out a long-term mortgage.
"And like any family, we measure how much we can afford for that mortgage because we carefully follow debt service guidelines," Hausman said. "And in this case, I can assure you this bill fits well within the debt service guidelines."
The governor said he plans to reduce the size of the bonding bill with line item vetoes.
Republican Sen. Julianne Ortman of Chanhassen said she doesn't want the governor deciding which projects to eliminate. Ortman said the Legislature should have made those decisions.
"What the we're asking the governor to do members is to do our work, our legislative work, to decide for us to reach an agreement apparently that the DFLers in the House and Senate can't reach on their own," Ortman said.
DFL leaders said they wanted early passage of a bonding bill this session to get needed construction projects underway this spring.