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Bonding bill decision approaches; pension bill to be signed

After releasing a report about the Super Bowl's impact on Minnesota, Gov. Mark Dayton talks to reporters Tuesday, May 29, 2018, about bills he may sign soon. Don Davis / Forum News Service

ST. PAUL — Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to sign or veto a public works funding bill for projects around Minnesota on Wednesday, May 30.

If he signs the bill, he could eliminate some of the projects lawmakers approved.

Also, his office says he will sign a pension-protection bill Thursday in a public ceremony. A number of other bills await his signature or veto, but he indicated they were not controversial.

The public works legislation, better known a bonding bill, would spend $1.5 billion on projects such as those on college campuses and in state parks, as well as to build city sewage and water treatment plants.

The legislative package would fund $825 million from general public tax money, with the rest of the funds coming from a variety of other sources. Dayton wanted $1.5 billion repaid by state tax money.

Dayton did not say whether he would sign or veto the bonding bill, but people who have watched the bonding bill progress say he is expected to sign it. However, he could line-item veto projects from the bill.

He said on Tuesday morning that he already had spent two hours working on a letter dealing with bonding, and governors do not generally send lengthy letters after fully signing a bill.

He would not give specifics about what he plans with bonding. "In due time, all things should be revealed."

The final bill to pass the 2018 legislative session, late May 20, will be signed into law Thursday.

The House and Senate unanimously passed the measure to stabilize state pensions and retirement funds for more than 500,000 public workers.

The state retirement fund was running out of money, so the legislation was drawn up to add funding and reform benefits to save costs. The bill would add about $6 billion in employee contributions over 30 years.

Dayton plans to sign the bill in the Capitol rotunda at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.