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Langseth: Governor's criticism was 'distorted'

After recent comments by Gov. Pawlenty accusing state Sen. Keith Langseth of an inability to say no to bonding projects, Sen. Langseth called those accusations "distorted."

"I'd like to set the record straight," said Sen. Langseth, DFL-Glyndon, who serves as chair of the Senate Capital Investment Committee.

"There were more than $3.4 billion in bonding requests for this year's bill. I said no to $2.5 billion in requests and the governor said no to $2.6 billion.

"My bonding bill had $113 million more than the governor's proposal for projects in northwestern Minnesota.

"The final conference committee report that was sent to the governor had $95 million more for northwestern Minnesota out of the $100 million difference between the governor's bill and our bill."

Langseth went on to note that some of the projects that the governor did not fund were higher education projects for the MnSCU

campuses in Moorhead, East Grand Forks and Bemidji, regional events centers in Crookston and Bemidji, the amateur sports facility in Moorhead and the Fergus Falls Veterans Home.

The governor also recommended $17.5 million less for flood-control projects.

"When the governor was finished with his bonding bill vetoes, Bemidji State University lost $2 million, MSU Moorhead lost $1.12 million, Red Lake Schools lost everything, Gonvick lost its public safety training center, and Moorhead lost its amateur sports facility funding," said Langseth.

He added that, according to the Tax Foundation, Minnesota ranks 44th out of the 50 states for state debt per household.

For more information on the vetoes and the overall bonding bill, contact Langseth's State Capitol office at 651-296-3205.