Walz proposes $518 million jobs, projects plan during budgeting year

Walz proposes $518 million jobs, projects plan during budgeting year

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KEYC) - Gov. Tim Walz released his proposal for a local jobs and projects plan, often called a bonding bill, on Monday, but this year is a budgeting year at the Minnesota State Capitol.

Broken down, his proposal includes $150 million for rebuilding neighborhoods hit by unrest after the death of George Floyd last May.

It also includes $43 million in security upgrades for the state Capitol complex, which has been ringed by fencing since last summer’s protests.

The rebuilding Minneapolis proposal has received split reactions from Democrats, like Sen. Nick Frentz (DFL - North Mankato) and Republicans, like Rep. Jeremy Munson (R - Lake Crystal).

“I think we want to help each other out, and I do think we want to support all the cities in Minnesota, including Minneapolis and St. Paul,” said Frentz.

Munson opposed the proposal.

“We need to do a deep analysis on how private insurance, property insurance has played into this,” he said.

Walz also proposes funding at Minnesota State University and at the University of Minnesota to repair and replace facilities.

He further recommends money for expanding access to affordable housing and funding for the Department of Natural Resources for investment in trails, buildings, recreational facilities and more.

Munson said the proposal is unlikely to go very far with Republicans.

“It’s typically not the year of the large bonding bill. Tacking on $150 million to rebuild Minneapolis just makes that proposal probably unpalatable for the Republican-controlled Senate,” he said.

But the ideas in the proposal still received praise from lawmakers like Frentz.

“Bonding promotes jobs. We have a need for economic relief, and it does some things that I think it’d be really good for the state,” he said.

The proposal gives a general overview without diving too deep into local projects just yet.

Frentz and Munson are keeping an eye on local projects for the near and far future.

“We have several local projects we think are important, from the Mankato city water projects to the Caswell Park project, to the sex offender program at the state hospital project, to Armstrong Hall at the MSU campus as a specific project,” Frentz said.

Munson said he’s also keeping an eye on wastewater infrastructure.

“We have a lot of cities that have failing or degrading pipes,” he said.

Last year’s bonding bill was the largest in the state’s history, at $1.87 billion.

Lawmakers will get a February economic forecast by the end of the week.

That, along with potential federal dollars, will serve as the framework for the budget for the next biennium.

Frentz said the Senate’s bonding proposal could come soon.

Bonding bills take a supermajority to pass.

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