Good attention for Hormel Institute

Published 11:29 am Thursday, January 19, 2012

Daily Herald editorial

It was good to see the Hormel Institute in the spotlight Tuesday when Gov. Mark Dayton announced his 2012 bonding plans. The governor chose the Institute as the centerpiece of his jobs-based plan, and rightly so — aside from the important work it is doing to fight cancer, the Institute is a model employer for Austin and the region.

The governor was wise to recognize that the Institute’s expansion plans — provided $13.5 million from the state, plus an equal amount from local bonding, it would nearly double its size and add 125 jobs — are a model of what the state needs. Not only would an expanded Hormel Institute be an ongoing economic engine for the Austin area, the expansion itself would support many construction-related jobs.

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Other bonding projects that the governor proposed on Tuesday would have similar benefits and one in particular — new funds for bridge repairs — might be particularly useful in Mower County.

The governor’s plan is, at this stage, only a plan and the ultimate decision on how much money the state should borrow to invest in capital improvements will lie with the Legislature. Still, among the many ways that the state could spend money, investing in health and the economy would seem to be one of the best possible.