State Office Building price tag swells to $729 million
The cost of the new State Office Building, already nominated for a Golden Turkey award, just ballooned from $454 million to $729 million due to huge interest costs. Never in the history of the Golden Turkey awards has a nominee gotten more expensive during the voting period. But there’s nothing in the rules preventing this boondoggle from receiving even more votes now that the price has swelled.
Thanks to some solid reporting from the Minnesota Reformer, Minnesota Management and Budget had to admit this week the interest costs on the $454 million building could be as high as $275 million, bringing the total price to $729 million!
The reason? House Democrats refused to follow traditional state government borrowing procedures which result in much lower interest payments. The Minnesota Constitution wisely requires a super-majority vote in the House and Senate to put the taxpayers on the hook for debt. House and Senate Democrats chose not to bring this boondoggle project to the floor for votes for obvious political reasons and now taxpayers will pay $275 million just for interest on a building for politicians.
As the Golden Turkey nomination noted, this building will cost more to renovate than the Capitol, be used only six months a year when the legislature is in session, and houses staff that are still working remotely the rest of the year.
MMB also had the gall to complain about the Reformer’s reporting, with spokesman Patrick Hogan saying,
“It continues to trouble me that the Reformer would treat this one project differently than all others in the way the cost is reported.”
The State Office Building is being treated differently because it’s being financed differently! If they had the guts to bring it to a vote, no one would be asking questions about interest.
These new developments could alter the 2023 Golden Turkey award voting, but that’s ok. At this writing, the State Office Building is in a neck-and-neck battle with the Northern Lights Express train to Duluth.
This could be the most exciting finish in Golden Turkey history!