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Minnesota Capitol Complex cafeterias need a bailout


Minnesota Capitol Complex cafeterias need a bailout

Apr 16, 2024 | 4:58 pm ET
By Michelle Griffith
Minnesota Capitol Complex cafeterias needs a bailout
Minnesota Capitol. Courtesy of Minnesota House Information Services.

Democratic-Farmer-Labor lawmakers have turned their attention to the limited dining options at the Capitol, proposing $500,000 in spending to help keep the public cafeterias open in the Capitol and the nearby Minnesota Department of Transportation Building. 

DFL lawmakers embedded the allocation in a budget bill released on Tuesday. Rep. Ginny Klevorn, DFL-Plymouth, said during a committee hearing that the funds were meant to help keep the vendors who operate the cafeterias open and operating.

Klevorn, who chairs the House State and Local Government Finance and Policy Committee, said vendors struggle due to the Legislature’s part-time status, which leaves the cafes devoid of customers. 

“This is to help (the Department of Administration) be able to recruit and keep vendors here providing those food services,” Klevorn said.

The Capitol Complex currently has two operating cafeterias open to the public — one in the headquarters of the Minnesota Department of Transportation and another in the basement of the Capitol, known as the Rathskeller. 

The $500,000 is meant “for the purpose of enhancing and sustaining access to healthy food alternatives on the State Capitol complex,” according to the bill language.

The allocation was part of a larger $3 million supplemental budget proposal from the House State and Local Government Finance and Policy Committee.

Rep. Jim Nash, R-Waconia, questioned whether the $500,000 was needed and said GOP  lawmakers will offer amendments to the proposal later this week.

Republicans have already launched a concerted campaign against the $454 million (not including interest) renovation of the State Office Building, calling it a “palace for politicians.”