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Editorial: BAC money - it's up to bonding

There's a little more to the story told by District 22 Sen. Bill Weber as to why Worthington's Biotechnology Advancement Center may not receive $313,947.17 in state funding during this legislative session.

As Weber explained for a Thursday Daily Globe story, the BAC money - which would go toward completion of its lab portion - now goes through a bonding bill that may or not be passed this session. "I know the majority leader in the Senate (Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook) is not in favor of a major bonding bill," Weber said. "Even though the House and the governor are, right now it seems to be caught up in the differences of opinion between the leadership in the majority party."

While there are indeed some difference among DFLers about a bonding bill -- as of Tuesday, Forum News Service reporter Danielle Killey wrote that "the House and Senate seem to be waiting for each other to move forward on a plan" -- there is a little more to such a bill than merely Democrats getting on the same page.

Bakk has noted on more than one occasion that Minnesota's constitution requires a bonding bill be passed in the House first, and that may be problematic. "We can't pass it without Republican votes," Bakk said Tuesday, as a three-fifth majority is required for approval and DFLers don't have that many votes. While Republicans haven't said "no" outright to a bonding bill, many believe that one shouldn't be considered this year -- as the focus instead should be on the budget.

The bottom line here is the BAC money, which was originally granted for its construction but not used at that time, hangs in the balance of political gamesmanship. The money should be forthcoming, regardless of a bonding bill's passage.