By Daniel Wilson
On March 16 Senator Miller voted against a bonding bill that would have brought 4.86 million dollars to build the Center for Interdisciplinary Learning and Collaboration at Winona State University. This project would have brought jobs to the area and positioned WSU to attract more students while reducing overhead costs. He also voted against $2 million that would have been used to expand the Root River State trail. The trail is a vital economic engine for Houston and Fillmore Counties. The expansion would have attracted even more tourism dollars to this area, providing long term sustainable economic development for the region. These were projects that Sen. Miller negotiated for and then voted against. Since this borrowing bonding bill was killed by the GOP, the Senate is now considering an all cash bonding bill that would cut projects from Senator’s districts who voted against the borrowing bill. Republican Senators are using our rural communities as bargaining chips in order to pressure the Senate to give tax cuts for the wealthiest Minnesotans and large corporations.
Despite the fact that the Governor’s budget already includes the largest tax cut in Minnesota history for working families. Borrowing for long term bonding projects would have allowed more cash to be spent on urgent rural issues such as nursing home staffing and soil health programs. These two bonding projects would have provided historic investment into our communities when we needed them the most. Providing jobs, economic development, and investing in our futures. Sen. Miller voted against these bonding projects despite House Republicans voting for them and knowing that doing so would put the bonding projects in jeopardy. Typically, bonding bills have been immune from partisan politics because of their vital structural importance to our communities.
Over the past several years we have seen the Minnesota Senate, under Sen. Miller’s leadership, use bonding projects as political bargaining chips. The fact is, when you care about your community, you do not use them as bargaining chips. These projects are too important to gamble with. Our community deserves these projects, and we deserve a Senator that is ready to work for us.