GOP Senate leader responds to Dayton's speech

GOP response
Minnesota GOP Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem and GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers respond to the State of the State address delivered by Gov. Mark Dayton Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 at the State Capitol in St. Paul, Minn.
MPR Photo/Tom Scheck

Republican Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem says DFL Governor Mark Dayton's second State of the State speech was short on specifics.

In his speech Wednesday evening at the Capitol, Dayton called for passage of bonding bills for projects that would create jobs. The governor would like the bill to be passed within the next month. He said lawmakers should also approve funding for a new Vikings stadium. Senjem said he was open to those proposals.

"It may not be exactly his bill but we'll have a bonding bill. We'll certainly work on the Vikings stadium, no question about that," Senjem said. "Whether we can make it work or not, time will tell, but the desire's there to see if it can happen."

Senjem said he will consider the governor's proposal for a tax credit for businesses that hire new employees, but is unsure that that the credit would create new jobs.

Dayton said the bill would repair buildings, upgrade classrooms, improve state parks, and finance downtown revitalization projects. He cited a national study that said the bill would create nearly 22-thousand jobs.

The governor also called for passage of a bill to fund a new Vikings stadium.

"Some of you reportedly want to avoid voting on a stadium until after next fall's elections," Dayton said. "That would be terribly unfair to the several thousand unemployed Minnesotans, who could be working on that project this year, and to the Vikings. Pass the Stadium bill this session. Please."

Dayton also said lawmakers should expand the Minnesota GI Bill to provide education benefits to all veterans.

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