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OUR OPINION: BONDING BILL

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While we don't automatically reject the idea of a bonding bill this legislative session Gov. Mark Dayton took the wrong tack when he placed emphasis on the jobs this legislation would create.

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The bonding bill's merit should be judged on more pertinent questions. Is this project necessary? Is this repair or rehabilitation essential in order to preserve a valuable state asset? How much bonding can the state afford at this time?

This is not a jobs bill. Any additional temporary jobs that result from this are a secondary consideration. We think a limited bonding bill - one with an emphasis on projects that are important and can start immediately - is justified.

One project that may not be shovel-ready but is worth state investment is the $51 million physics and nanotechnology building planned for the University of Minnesota. This construction project would replace an 80-year-old building and help solidify the university's standing in an important field.

The specific dollar amount of this year's bonding bill - and it's likely there will be one - is subject to change. This will be a bargaining chip when the Republican-controlled Legislature and Democratic governor get down to brass tacks and come up with a solution to the $6.2 billion budget shortfall.

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