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Earlier this morning, I saw some articles talking about the Senate passing a bonding bill that would spend $496,000,000. When I dug into what the money was going to be spent on, I was outraged. Every taxpayer should be, too. Here’s an example of what they want to spend money on:

Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Coon Rapids Bioscience and Allied Health Addition and Renovation: $980,000

What it’s being spent on: To complete design for the construction of a Bioscience and Allied Health addition and to design, renovate, and equip classrooms and related space.

If that doesn’t get you fired up, this will:

North Hennepin Community College Bioscience and Health Careers Addition: $26,292,000

What it’s being spent on: “To complete design of and to construct, furnish, and equip Bioscience and Health Careers laboratories, classrooms, and related spaces.

That’s $27,000,000 spent on bioscience facilities that are 10 miles apart. Are both of these facilities really needed? I’m betting taxpayers would emphatically say no.

Then there’s this spending request:

Ridgewater College, Willmar Technical Instruction Lab Renovation $13,851,000

What it’s being spent on: To design, renovate, furnish, and equip classroom, student service, instructional lab, and related spaces and to demolish the Administration Building.

Here’s another appropriation for a health center:

St. Paul College Health and Science Alliance Center $1,500,000
What it’s being spent on: To design the Health and Science Alliance Center addition and design, renovate, furnish, and equip, existing health spaces.

First, how many community colleges need “health and science” centers? Next, when it says to design something, it means that the project hasn’t even been started. What’s the need for this health and science center? Is there a need for this health and science center?

Finally, is there a need for this many health and science centers spread across Minnesota?

The Senate bill’s foolishness doesn’t just include MnSCU projects:

MINNESOTA ZOOLOGICAL GARDEN $ 7,000,000
What it’s being spent on: To the Minnesota Zoological Garden for capital asset preservation and betterments to infrastructure and exhibits at the Minnesota Zoo to be spent in accordance with Minnesota Statutes, section 16B.307. This appropriation includes money to rehabilitate the saltwater dolphin tank and exhibit in Discovery Bay.

Gov. Dayton and the DFL is always talking about taxing the rich. Instead of taxing the rich, why aren’t limosine liberals stepping up and paying for these types of spending projects? It would save the state tons of money in terms of interest payments to bondholders.

Wouldn’t that be a great win-win situation, especially for taxpayers?

Next are the things that should never get consideration for any type of state appropriations:

Bemidji Regional Public Television Station $3,000,000
What it’s being spent on: For a grant to the city of Bemidji to construct, furnish, and equip a regional public television station in the city of Bemidji.
This appropriation is not available until the commissioner determines that a 25 percent match has been committed to the project from nonstate sources.

What purpose does a public TV station in Bemidji serve? More importantly, does it serve a purpose?

Here’s a hardy perennial:

Potter Auditorium Remodeling – Chatfield $2,200,000
What it’s being spent on: For a grant to the Chatfield economic development authority to predesign, design, renovate, construct, furnish, and equip the Chatfield Center for the Arts in the city of Chatfield. The center includes the George H. Potter auditorium, the adjacent 1916 school building, and the land surrounding the structures owned by the economic development authority. Money, land and buildings, and in-kind contributions provided to the center before the enactment of this section are considered to be sufficient local match, and no further local match is required.

I’d be interested in finding out how many people visit the George H. Potter auditorium and the adjacent 1916 school building. Projects like this shouldn’t be a priority for the state. They shouldn’t be taken seriously.

While this bonding bill isn’t as irresponsible as Gov. Dayton’s, it’s still irresponsible. There’s tons of pork in the Senate bill that should be eliminated. The scary thing is that these specific projects are from the first 19 pages of the spreadsheet. There’s 38 more pages of projects after these projects.

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5 Responses to “This bonding bill MUST shrink”

  • Nick says:

    WOW!!! This state needs to start spending much smarter than it is right now. Fund projects that REALLY matter such as road and highway maintenance. The state needs to quit funding JUNK degrees, and invest in degrees that have high job placement such as Aviation.

  • Jethro says:

    Unbelievable!! Talk about a LOT of pork in this bonding bill. It would be interesting to hear a response from the MnScu board of trustees on this one. Maybe the trustees will start having town hall meetings with their constituents like legislative members do. Oh wait…that would make sense…scratch that thought.

  • Nick says:

    One of the trustees is in one of my classes. I will ask him and get back to you.

  • Rex Newman says:

    Nice research Gary. Why can’t Strib or PiPress do this? Further evidence of the significant duplication in MnScu.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Rex, why expect great things from inferior ideologues ‘reporters’?

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