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Communities benefit from successful bond sale

Many decisions made by the state Legislature require the test of time before proof is available the right choice was made. One noted exception is this year's quick and decisive passage of a bonding bill by House Democrats.

In keeping with our promise to make job creation a top priority, we moved more quickly than ever before, introducing our bonding bill on the very first day of session and sending it to the governor in record time.

Our quick action enabled us to get projects on track for the spring construction season, increased our chances at securing state and federal matching grants, and gave taxpayers more value for their money by taking advantage of competitive bids. This week's bond sale proved we were right.

Minnesota's triple-A rated bonds remain highly sought by private bidders, and the winning bid came in at a historic low.

During this time of economic uncertainty, investors are hungry for a safe place to put their money and they consider public projects to be solid investments. Remarkably, this year's interest rate is even lower than last year's, providing even more value for Minnesota taxpayers.

As a result of this successful bond sale, hundreds of construction projects will move forward across the state, creating thousands of jobs.

Bids will be let for projects such as road and bridge improvements, clean water for our communities, and improvements to our state colleges and universities, to name a few. The projects financed by the sale of these bonds will create as many as 20,000 construction jobs across our state. There will also be hundreds of spin-off jobs created in areas such as manufacturing, materials supply, food service, health care and retail.

Communities across the state benefit when workers come to eat at their restaurants, buy gas at their gas stations, and shop in their stores.

The bond sale also drives home the squandered opportunities Minnesota was dealt by Gov. Pawlenty's project vetoes and arbitrary debt ceiling. Dozens of important projects were lost, including $3.7 million for a new biological station at Itasca State Park, and almost $6 million for continuing improvements at Red Lake schools.

He also cut funding for the Headwaters Science Center, a significant loss to children and education across the region, and funding for the Paul Bunyan Trail Bridge over Highway 197. Matching federal funds were lost when he cut Reinvest in Minnesota funding. Minnesota workers lost jobs and Minnesota taxpayers will pay more as a result of these short-sighted actions.

For over 150 years, bonding bills have been exactly what Minnesota needed to stimulate the economy and create jobs.

Minnesota's businesses, workers and families can feel confident that we will continue to make job creation our top priority, and a responsible bonding bill will continue to be the cornerstone.

Tony Sertich, DFL-Chisholm, is majority leader of the Minnesota House.