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Mathern: My bonding bill is a public policy bill, not a Christmas Tree

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The Senate Appropriations Committee is considering a $2 billion bonding bill.

The bill's author is Sen. Tim Mathern (D-Fargo).

It’s one of three competing ideas for bonding. Gov. Burgum has a $1.2 billion plan, while GOP legislators have an $800 million plan.

Mathern said his plan lays out three priorities – infrastructure, education and housing.

"Infrastructure -- roads and bridges -- is for everybody," Mathern said in an interview. "We all need it."

Mathern said the education piece is for the future.

"We need new people with new ideas," Mathern said.

And Mathern said housing is meeting the needs of our citizens right now.

Mathern said his bill has no specific projects tied to it.

"The systems of government already in-place can make those decisions, about which road, which building and which housing project," Mathern said. "That is not the domain of the Legislature."

The GOP-backed bonding plans have identified projects. Mathern said it appears named projects are in those plans to court votes, to get them passed.

"I would say personally, I have a degree in public administration, not a degree in creating Christmas trees," Mathern said.

The bonds would be repaid through the proceeds of the Legacy Fund, or the profits from the Bank of North Dakota.

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