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As a general rule, state bonding money is supposed to be used for infrastructure projects of statewide significance. Sewer and water infrastructure, courthouses, jails, roads and bridges have been cited as examples of projects appropriate for state bonding money and other assistance.
Despite the general rule, our state legislature has opened the door to allowing state bonding authority to be used for private businesses, i.e. the Twins’ Stadium and the Vikings’ Stadium. Once the door to these so-called public/private partnerships has been opened, is there really any limit to how the state uses its bonding authority?
Presumably using the Vikings’ Stadium legislation as a model, the Mayo Clinic and the City of Rochester are now requesting state bonding money and other assistance to essentially build out the City, including “to install, construct or reconstruct, and equip core elements of community infrastructure, to promote and encourage economic development and to anchor the medical center developmental district in accordance with the development plan, including, without limitation, parks, cultural facilities, community and recreational facilities, facilities to promote tourism and hospitality, conferencing and conventions, broadcast and related multimedia infrastructure, destination retail, urban residential housing, and instructional, educational, and other facilities with the primary purpose of attracting and fostering urban economic development . . ..”
Is this an appropriate use of the state’s bonding authority? If so, where does it end? What about Fargo? What about Duluth? What about Marshall? What about Ely or Embarrass?