Dayton offers to cut bonding demands by half

with Brian Bakst

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton is offering to roll back some of his requirements for a special session, if it helps to reach a deal with House Republicans.

A day after negotiations with top lawmakers stalled, Dayton made a new play. He told MPR News Wednesday that he’s willing to give up half of his $186 million list of additional bonding projects that he outlined to House and Senate leaders three weeks ago.

However, Dayton stressed that he won’t budge on funding for the University of Minnesota health sciences building or for maintenance and repair on buildings in the Minnesota State Colleges of Universities system. Those two items take up about half of his additional bonding.

“I’m reluctant to give anything up,” Dayton said. “But I’ll give up what I have to, if necessary, to reach an agreement.”

Dayton’s new offer means the potential loss of other items on his list, including a state security hospital upgrade, the next phase of improvements to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program, a new Fort Snelling visitor center and several state park and trail projects.

“We haven’t gotten to the point of talking about what the trade-offs would be,” Dayton added. “I would just say to the Republicans, ‘tell me which projects you think are not meritorious.’”

Following Tuesday’s unproductive negotiation session, Republican leaders stressed that they’ve already made significant compromises on bonding and aren’t interested in additional projects.

No new talks have been scheduled.

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