Senator Rarick passes funding for Willow River Correctional Facility with vote for bonding bill

(St. Paul, MN) – Today Senate Republicans passed a government financing bill that included bonding, tax, and budget provisions for the entire state. The bill provided $200 million in tax relief for small businesses and farmers, $300 in wastewater treatment, and $700 in safe roads and bridges across the state.

Senate District 11, represented by Senator Jason Rarick (R-Pine City), is slated to receive a little over $13 million in capital investment for correctional facilities, waste infrastructure, and the Pine Technical Community College. Sen. Rarick expressed his mixed feelings about the bill, saying,

“I am very pleased that important projects in my area are funded this year. The provisions for the Willow River Correctional Facility and the Twin Lakes water infrastructure project are especially needed, which is why I put effort into their inclusion. Despite the good things, I’m not entirely pleased with the bill. It should have been smaller considering today’s budget deficit, caused by months of necessary Covid response. The crucial infrastructure projects alone will provide many jobs and increased safety. Little pet projects added throughout negotiations bloat the bill and will do nothing to help our looming budget deficit.”

Correctional facilities and programs in Senate District 11 have taken some hard budget hits at the hands of state agencies this year. In a moment of relief for the area, the bill provides $1.8 million in funding for equipment at the Willow River Correctional Facility. Further, the Carlton County Regional Corrections Facility will receive $2 million in capital investment.

Wastewater systems across the state are growing old or insufficient for their populations, which is why the largest portion for District 11 is allocated to the Twin Lakes Township water infrastructure project. The township is slated to receive $7.5 million for the refurbishment of their systems, which will benefit the community for years to come.

In the supplemental budget portion of the budget, public safety is prioritized. This week, Senate Republicans released a report highlighting the inaction from Walz resulted in an increase in destruction and violence during the riots. The bill does not provide funds to rebuild businesses that were damaged but reimburses law enforcement agencies for their work in quelling the riots this summer.

 

Senator Rarick concluded, “The bonding bill, while it has good investments now, will have ramifications.  I’m concerned that this move will mean more program cuts in the next budget year and made that known throughout the process. Nonetheless, I’m glad that portions of the bill will assist District 11 in a tangible way.”

 

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