Dispute over funding for veteran homes continues

House Republicans remain determined to build three veteran homes with money from the U.S. Bank Stadium. 

Wednesday, they learned that the $26 million they want to use to jumpstart three new veterans homes in Preston, Bemidji and Montevideo is not dedicated to a special reserve, but instead is a book keeping entry in the general fund. 

“So I think it’s a huge disservice to squirrel away these general fund dollars that the taxpayers of Minnesota have paid,” said Rep. Sarah Anderson, the Republican House State Government Finance Chair. “It’s their money and it should be allocated to what they view as the priorities of the state and clearly these veteran homes have been waiting too long already.” 

The current reserve used to pay the debt service on the stadium is nearly $26 million. It is expected to swell to $120 million by 2021. 

“Those future estimates are not yet in the reserve and it is possible that the revenues will not be realized at these levels,” budget director Myron Frans warned in a letter to lawmakers. 

Gov. Dayton said he supports building the homes through the proper channel, which he said is the bonding bill. However, the governor did not include the veterans’ homes in his bonding bill.

The House did not include the homes in their bonding bill either, which is why Republicans are looking for other options. 

“The Vikings have a home and now it’s time to make sure we have homes for our veterans,” said Rep. Bob Dettmer (R-Forest Lake). 

The Senate added the three veteran homes to its bonding bill Wednesday.

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