Bonding bill will create jobs

Published 3:58 pm Saturday, May 12, 2012

A $496 million statewide bonding bill that invests in Minnesota’s infrastructure and creates thousands of construction and long-term private sector jobs has been signed into law. Contained in the bonding package is $13.5 million to construct the International Center of Research Technology at Austin’s Hormel Institute. The cancer prevention research work done by the scientists at the Hormel Institute is world-renowned.

Governor Dayton and bipartisan House and Senate leaders supported this project at each step of the legislative process. Representatives from the Hormel Institute, the city of Austin, and the Hormel Foundation came to the State Capitol and provided excellent testimony on the significance of the project to the region and the world. It seemed everyone who learned about this project, quickly recognized that we had a unique opportunity to invest not only in Minnesota’s future economic health, but also its physical well-being.

The new law will allow the Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota, and Mayo Clinic to increase their cancer research and bioscience capabilities with 15 new, state-of-the-art research labs. The new space will be the future home of the International Center of Research Technology and house cancer fighting tools and technologies, such as the Institute’s IBM Blue Gene/L supercomputer, mass spectrometry and protein crystallography lab.

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The expansion will create 120 new long-term jobs and have a huge economic benefit to the city of Austin, Southern Minnesota and the entire state of Minnesota for years to come.

Bonding in the new law for flood prevention and mitigation, local roads and bridges, wastewater systems, buildings on college campuses, and Greater Minnesota business development grants will directly benefit the Southern Minnesota region as well.

Passage of a new $975 million Vikings stadium was the other major legislative action taken in the final days of the session. The plan approved by the State Legislature, and expected to be signed into law, requires the Vikings to be responsible for $477 million, Minneapolis would add $150 million, and the State of Minnesota would contribute $348 million through an expansion of charitable gambling via the authorization of electronic pull-tabs and bingo. The state’s share does not use current general fund dollars or Legacy amendment money.

The Vikings stadium will give a tremendous boost to the construction trades, which have been hit extremely hard by the recession. Several thousand new jobs would go to trades people during the building process, and when the stadium is completed, football games as well as many other events – from high school sports to, potentially, a Super Bowl or the NCAA Final Fours — will boost the economy and generate considerable tax revenue.

The 2012 legislative session has now adjourned sine die. These jobs measures passed in the last days will continue to strengthen our state’s economy by creating thousands and thousands of jobs now and long into the future.