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Committed to "Getting Minnesota Back to Work," Governor Dayton Advances Jobs Bill

January 31, 2011

Bonding bill creates jobs now, jobs for the future, and economic growth for communities and businesses across our state

St. Paul, MN – Governor Mark Dayton today announced a $1 billion Bonding Bill to create jobs now and stimulate economic growth throughout Minnesota.  Dayton proposes $531 million in investments in over 300 critical infrastructure projects; and, in an unusual, if not unprecedented approach, the Governor has purposely left the other half ($470 million), and has invited the Legislature to fill that half of the bill with projects it deems most important.  The projects funded are estimated to create up to 28,000 jobs, based upon an analysis by Dr. Stephen Fuller, Faculty Chair and Director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University(1).

Dayton said, “In my Inaugural Address earlier this month, I said that my top priority was to get Minnesotans working again.  This Billion Dollar Bonding Bill is another important Jobs Initiative, in addition to my Early Medicaid Opt-in and Permit Streamlining Executive Orders.

“Studies estimate that a billion dollars of public bonding, when aimed at ‘shovel ready’ and ‘paint and repair’ projects, such as those in my proposal, can create up to 28,000 private sector jobs.  With unemployment as high as 50% in the building trades in some parts of Minnesota, these jobs are critically important to Minnesota workers, to their families, and to communities across our state.

“Unlike previous bonding bills, in which governors identified all of the projects and Legislators had to eliminate some of them to include their own, I have purposely left open almost half of my proposed billion dollars of bonding for Legislators to insert their own projects.  This approach is in keeping with the hand of cooperation that I have extended to the Legislature, inviting all of them to work in partnership with me to help create more jobs throughout our state.  I urge them to act swiftly to pass this bill.  Every day delayed is another day when unemployed Minnesotans are left sitting, rather than working.”

Dayton made today’s announcement surrounded by those who would be positively impacted by today’s job creation efforts: construction workers, college and university students in cutting-edge fields such as nano-technology, and Mayors of the communities who will see economic gains as a direct result of a bonding bill. 

The Governor’s bill focuses on immediate job creation: “shovel ready” (for construction) and “paint and repair” (building rehab) projects in the key areas of essential infrastructure, community assets, and education. 

Critical infrastructure projects are crucial for the economic growth of cities and businesses across the state.  Each project was cited by local leaders as critical to their ability to expand, from a stoplight at an intersection in Thief River Falls, where up to 4,000 workers for two major employers travel to and from work every day; to downtown revitalization projects in Minneapolis and St. Paul, including Target Center and a regional ballpark; to the continued maintenance of Veterans homes and State Academies; to transit improvements at the Mall of America, Newport, and Ramsey. 

Funds are also allocated to prevention and protection of our communities, including $28 million for flood hazard mitigation in areas currently bracing for spring floods and $16 million for a dam improvement in Coon Rapids to prevent the spread of invasive species. 

These funds are of particular importance to cities like Moorhead, Minnesota.  Moorhead Mayor Mark Voxland was at today’s news conference to address how flood mitigation funds will help secure Minnesota communities and businesses.

Community assets bring new revenue into our communities and expand opportunities for economic growth.  These projects include the Mankato Civic Center, St. Cloud Civic Center, and Rochester Mayo Civic Center, each of which is widely supported by local communities and businesses and has the proven ability to both create new jobs and generate new customers for local stores and service providers.  For example, the Rochester Mayo Civic Center alone is expected to create 400 construction jobs, 800 permanent jobs, and bring an additional $44 million in economic impact to the community. Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede was on hand at today’s news conference to show his support and underscore the important economic opportunities the Civic Center presents for the community.

Expanding educational opportunities to create the jobs of tomorrow is a critical component of the bill.  From building a Physics and Nanotechnology facility at the University of Minnesota to expansion at South Central College in Faribault, these projects are training the workers of our future for new and exciting fields.  These investments also spur business creation and create new entrepreneurs, as discoveries made at our colleges and universities spawn new technologies in the marketplace. 

Joining Governor Dayton at today’s news conference was Dr. Bob Hoerr, whose business, Nanocopoeia, began as a result of research conducted at the University of Minnesota.  The Physics/Nanotechnology building alone is expected to create an additional 100 permanent jobs as a result of the increased research capacity, and an untold number of future jobs will be created as a result of the new technologies generated.

A complete list of the projects [Excel] and a map indicating their geographic reach to every corner of our state, is attached.

(1) Dr. Stephen Fuller, Faculty Chair and Director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University.  Testimony before Congress on January 22, 2009:

His research found that, when there are sufficient unused labor, capital and materials, an additional $1 billion of investment in nonresidential construction supports or creates 28,500 jobs and adds $3.4 billion to GDP and $1.1 billion to personal income.

About one-third of the benefit accrues directly to the construction industry. Roughly one-sixth goes to industries that supply materials, services and equipment to the construction project. Fully half of the gain is diffused through the entire economy, as workers and owners in the construction and supplier industries spend their added income on a wide range of goods and services.