OPINION: Fight continues for Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Clinic
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 5:35 AM
One of the top priorities of the 2013 legislative session, according to State Representative Greg Davids (R-Preston) is creating jobs for unemployed Minnesotans.
A proposal that would help build a Destination Medical Center for the Mayo Clinic and create 40,000 jobs is arguably the biggest jobs bill before the legislature this year.
Yet, Davids said there are two things standing in the way of this progress: a skeptical Democratic leadership team in the Minnesota House and a timid Governor Dayton.
"Despite the fact the Mayo's plan has bipartisan support, Democratic leadership is becoming a roadblock to this proposal, and Governor Dayton seems content to just stand on the sidelines and watch the action," Davids said.
"Right now, we need a governor that will come in and twist some arms and tell members of his party to get in line, because Mayo's proposal is critical. Instead he's content to tell the press he wants the plan but is doing nothing behind the scenes to get it done."
Mayo Clinic plans to invest more than $3 billion of its private capital in Minnesota to expand the needed buildings and facilities throughout Rochester.
This plan will require about $2.1 billion in additional private investments to support patient/visitor and employee demand for more lodging, housing, retail, hospitality, recreation and other enhancements. No state dollars would be dedicated to the Mayo Clinic.
Davids said the Destination Medical Center plan represents one of the largest economic development initiatives in the country and will deliver significant benefits to Minnesota, including thousands of new jobs and billions in new tax revenues.
The proposal is currently being heard in the Minnesota House Taxes Committee, where Davids is the Republican Lead. He added that the Democratic chairwoman of the committee and several of her DFL colleagues are likely to oppose the plan; meaning it could die in the committee unless there is enough pressure from the public and from Gov. Dayton to approve it.
"This project would be a great economic asset for our region and for all of Minnesota," Davids said.
"The city of Rochester and every surrounding community want this project to move forward. And from my perspective, the state's investment comes with minimal risks."
"With a Democratic governor and a Democratic legislature, there is little doubt which political party controls the fate of this proposal," Davids continued.
"So far, I have been extremely disappointed with the lack of urgency and the lack of leadership shown by a tepid Gov. Dayton and legislative leaders on this issue.
"Actions speak louder than words; and their inaction tells Minnesotans they really don't seem to care if 40,000 jobs disappear on their watch."