What is Bonding?
The majority of projects originate within the communities in need of the project. Constituents, schools, local governments, nonprofit organizations and others bring their ideas straight to their local legislators. If there is enough support within the community, the legislator works to make the idea a reality.
Other statewide projects often originate within a state agency, the University of Minnesota or the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system.Minnesota’s state constitution says that all expenditures of state funds must be for a public purpose. Typical projects include colleges and universities, streets, bridges, sewers, water and other utilities, waste management buildings, public buildings (such as civic centers), dams, airports, energy facilities, transit, and other public uses.In short, the Minnesota Legislature. Here’s how you can get involved in the process:
1. Public testimony – The Capital Investment Committee travels the state hearing from communities, departments and other interested parties on the importance of individual bonding bills.
2. The Governor makes recommendations about which projects should receive funding.
3. Committee Action – Senate and House Capital Investment Committees simultaneously conduct hearings and create a bill with their recommendations for project funding.
4. House and Senate Votes – The House and Senate recommendations are discussed and debated. Projects can be added or taken off during debate, but, in order to send recommendations to the Governor, the legislation must receive at least 3/5 vote of the House and Senate.
5. Conference Committees – An equal number of members from the House and Senate work together to iron out the differences between the House and Senate recommendations (bills). The entire committee then votes on one bill (a majority of votes are needed from both sides).
6. Final vote by Senate and House – After one more debate (no changes this time) the House and Senate must vote again on the agreed upon language.
7. Governor’s Approval – The governor has the ability to sign the entire bill, veto the bill or veto individual projects.
Agencies and local governments have requested funding of more than $2.8 billion for hundreds of capital projects across Minnesota.A bond is a promise to pay back a loan. The state of Minnesota sells General Obligation (G.O.) bonds for the cost of capital projects with the approval of the legislature. The bonds are sold to investors who receive their money back, plus interest. The state’s credit rating impacts the interest rates the state pays investors for purchasing the bonds. Although we are not at the very top, Minnesota has a very strong capacity to meet its financial commitments (Moody’s Aa1, Standard & Poors AA+, Fitch AA+).Minnesota is already an exceptional place to live, work and raise a family—let’s keep it that way! As roads deteriorate, communities out-grow their infrastructure and public facilities become obsolete, we risk falling behind in the 21st century. Staying competitive in today’s global economy requires our ongoing commitment to maintain and protect the things that make Minnesota great.
Every corner of our state benefits when we build up our community assets, transportation systems and educational institutions. Building Minnesota is about improving our communities and investing in our standard of living. No less important, these building projects will put thousands of Minnesotans to work right away.
The best way to give input about a particular project is to contact your elected officials. Click here to find out who represents you.
Build.MN was created to help make the state bonding process more transparent to the people of Minnesota – and it’s working! Check out some of the things we’ve read about our work:
Hot Dish Politics: Taking digital politics to next level, StarTribune
Bonding bill build-up gets web boost, MPR
Senate bonding committee launches website, Build.MN, Hometownsource
Follow the bonding bill action on new state Senate website, Minnpost
Senate bonding tour set to hit the road, StarTribune [/toggle]
Ellen C. Anderson
Digital Media Coordinator