ST. PAUL -- House Republicans are willing to match the price tag of Gov. Jesse Ventura's bonding bill, but not his priorities.
Their blueprint released Wednesday includes $526 million in construction projects, directing more than Ventura wants at higher education and less on a new crime lab.
The bill calls for $400 million in new borrowing -- nearly identical to Ventura's proposal but short of what the Senate is expected to put forward. It is significantly leaner than the record package of 1998, which was almost $1 billion.
House GOP leaders sought to declare an end to the days when bonding bills were magnets for legislators' local projects. In all, 200 of 303 project requests received no money.
''We would like to think pork is dead,'' said Capital Investment Committee Chairman Jim Knoblach, R-St. Cloud. He said the focus is on projects with a statewide significance.
Higher education fares better under the House GOP plan than it does under Ventura's recommendations. The University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system would share $170 million in the House bill, compared with $118 million in Ventura's plan.
MnSCU would get $103 million and the university $67 million. But both systems are responsible for repaying debt on their bonds, a practice in place for years but one that makes the bonding figures misleading.
Senate State Government Finance Chairman Richard Cohen said the House plan comes up short for colleges.
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