Over the weekend, Minnesota House Republican Minority Leader Kurt Daudt published a statement that tied the fate of a critical infrastructure bonding bill to a growing constitutional dispute between some legislators and the Governor regarding the use of executive powers to combat COVID-19.
This development is unfortunate and unacceptable. Reasonable people can disagree about the division of power between the Governor and the Legislature in times of crisis. However, with the unprecedented economic damage this pandemic has caused, now is not the time to let future construction jobs be jeopardized by political disputes, as sincere as those disagreements may be.
Passing a large infrastructure bonding bill right now is the most impactful thing that this government can do to ignite economic recovery. With unemployment north of 20%, mines shutdown up North, and private construction jobs delayed and some cancelled, this state needs action on jobs and we need it now.
We will survive this crisis. I am very optimistic that we can come out of this with a construction economy that is even better than the robust one we had before the pandemic. But that will require leadership. It will require both sides of the aisle to come together and put other political issues aside to get the job done on an infrastructure bonding bill this session.
I call on legislative leaders from both political parties to join Governor Walz in committing to pass a large bonding bill, with a heavy focus on transportation infrastructure, before they adjourn for the final time this year. Economic recovery and the jobs that Minnesota needs right now are far too important to get intertwined with other issues. Starting next week, I will be encouraging the over 14,000 members of our Union to get in touch with their legislators with a simple message:
Put the politics aside, get this economy moving, and put us to work rebuilding Minnesota by passing a large infrastructure bonding bill this year.
Business Manager/Financial Secretary
International Union of Operating Engineers