LETTER: Rep. Steve Green voted ‘no’ on bonding bill
This last week, the Minnesota Senate and House passed the first bonding bill in three years with bi-partisan support. In the House, all but 34 House members approved the legislation, and in the Senate, all but three members supported the bill. Republicans agreed to back off on their efforts to take away the power of the governor to address the deepening pandemic and should be commended for doing so.
This is wonderful news for many reasons. First, it provides evidence that Republicans and Democrats can work together to pass meaningful legislation. And second, it means that in the middle of an economic downturn, due to the pandemic, there will be jobs created throughout the state. And timing of public investment with the current low cost of borrowing is just plain smart.
Locally, it means funding for potentially needed flood hazard mitigation for the Wild Rice Watershed District, an extension of the Heartland State Trail from Detroit Lakes to Frazee, as well as the Itasca-Heartland Connection Trail from the Itasca State Park to the Heartland Trail. It includes funding for the Bemidji and Mahnomen water treatment plants and help for the Becker County Museum.
It also provides access to funds for schools, counties or cities to construct child care facilities which would help address child care shortages if pursued locally.
But Rep. Steve Green voted against the bill. In a recent public TV debate with David Suby, the DFL nominee, who supports the bonding bill, Rep. Green spoke against the bill, discouraging a public expenditure that he believes is tilted in favor of the metro area. But, okay, while the “metro tilting” may not be apparent, maybe District 2B could have received more.
But Rep. Green appears not to have the leverage among his peers in the House to make that happen. And consistently voting against a bonding bill is hardly a way to promote the interests of your constituents back home.