What the Conclusion of the Legislative Session Means for Duluth

There were major projects ultimately included in the bonding bill but some others were left out

DULUTH, Minn. – The Minnesota Legislative Session ended late last night and Gov. Dayton is already threatening to veto some spending packages over the next couple weeks.

Duluth city leaders have mixed feelings about the session.

There were major projects ultimately included in the bonding bill but some others were left out.

Duluth Mayor Emily Larson says she made 15 trips to St. Paul over the course of the legislative sessionĀ and was up until midnight keeping track of everything on the session’s final night.

One of the city’s priorities was funding for fixing up the sea wall behind the Duluth Entertainment Convention CenterĀ and money for those repairs was not approved.

There was also a big push for a half percent sales tax to help pay for expensive street repairs in Duluth that was not advanced.

“We know that the day after a session closes and things are moving quickly that people are still having conversations and kind of debriefing. so we haven’t yet spoken with the governor’s office today,” said Larson.

Larson says 77 percent of voters approved the referendum on that issue so she vows to keep fighting for it.

“We are going to continue, we are going through our entire legislature debrief process now,” said Larson. “We’re starting our budgeting process for next year. We have a plan to continue forward with our sales request.”

But there are bright spots for Duluth.

DFL Rep. Liz Olson released a statement that reads in part: “I’m pleased that we were able to address many of our infrastructure needs in the bonding bill we passed last night. whether the zoo, UMD, the steam plant, or other local assets, these investments will ensure a stronger future for duluth.”

Chief Administrative Officer Dave Montgomery officer strongly supports the bonding bill now on the governor’s desk.

“If the governor ends up signing the bonding bill it’ll actually be a very good bill for the city with district energy in there, Glensheen, the zoo and so many other projects, I think will be really good for Duluth,” said Montgomery.

The bill would also give Duluth mental health funding for a triage center and other local government aid to help meet other needs of the community.

City leaders believe the legislature should now place its attention elsewhere.

“Tax bill, they’re going to have to address conformity at some point between now and next year,” said Montgomery. “So as this rolls out and the past session takes its way through we’ll see how that plays out.”

Mayor Larson plans to give a presentation to the Duluth city council next Tuesday to break down where various local projects stand.

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