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Bonding deal due

ST. PAUL - Today is supposed to be the day when House and Senate negotiators approve a public works funding bill and send it to the full House and Senate for approval.

Sen. Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon, on Monday said everything is ready in the bill other than how much to spend - if anything - on buying land for a new state park along Lake Vermilion in northeastern Minnesota.

That can be funded in a variety of ways later in the legislative session, said Langseth, chairman of the Senate committee that determines what public works projects get funded.

The bill would spend $925 million, mostly funded by the state selling bonds. Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he cannot accept that amount and in recent days has dropped hints he may veto some projects to reduce the spending. He earlier threatened to veto the entire bill if it came in too expensive.

Pawlenty, who was out of state Monday, has said he wants the bill limited to $825 million because the state is facing some budget problems. Because of that, he said, he does not want community centers, hockey rinks and similar projects funded this year.

The House and Senate could vote on the bill as early as Wednesday.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.