ST. CLOUD - State Senator John Pederson of St. Cloud was in the WJON studio this (Friday) afternoon on the News @ Noon Show.

On The Budget Forecast:
Now that we know the state has a projected budget surplus of $1.2 billion dollars, the debate begins on what to do with that money. Pederson says he would like to see a balanced approach.

First, he says the state should use some of the surplus to build-up its reserve fund.

Pederson says he would also support boosting pay for long-term care workers.

He says he also wants to see the repeal of a couple of taxes that were implemented last session, the business-to-business tax and the warehouse tax.

On his bill on public notices in newspapers:
Pederson has introduced a bill this week that would give local governments the option of not having to post their public notices in the local newspaper.

Pederson says the move would save local governments thousands of dollars.

Pederson says his bill would still let local governments buy ads in newspapers, this would just give them the option to choose. Right now local governments are required to post notices in the newspaper.  He says most local governments are already posting their public notices on their websites, making newspaper ads unnecessary.

The Minnesota Newspaper Association is opposed to the idea.

On the Bonding Bill:
This is a bonding year at the State Capital. Pederson sits on the Capital Investment Committee, which will be dealing with the bonding bill.

He says he supports money for the completion of the River's Edge Convention Center in downtown St. Cloud.  And, he says, like it or not it's probably going to be closely tied to convention center projects in Rochester and Mankato.

Pederson says, while St. Cloud's project is shovel-ready, Mankato's and Rochester's are not.

Governor Mark Dayton has said he would like to see a $1 billion bonding bill, while Pederson says he'd like it to be around $600 million.  He says it will probably be somewhere in the middle around $850 million.