THE DL-Online published an editorial about budget negotiations at the Capitol. They agreed with the chambers of commerce that spoke at the Capitol and met with the Governor about how cuts to LGA lead to higher property taxes for individuals and businesses. Both the chambers and the DL-Online agree that it’s time for the legislature to meet the Governor halfway on raising revenue.
They called for compromise, saying the governor and Legislature must come together to produce a budget compromise that includes both cuts and a state revenue increase.
The group said that the disproportionate cuts to LGA over the past years have driven up property taxes 65 percent across the state since 2002, with greater Minnesota taking the biggest hits.
“We already know what a tax increase looks like. It looks like this — a property tax statement — which our businesses and families have been slapped with year after year because of the continued cuts to LGA, and we’ve had enough of that,” said Dan Dorman, a former Republican state representative and current executive director of the Albert Lea Economic Development Agency.
Read the entire editorial here.
State Revenue Increase Better Than Property Tax Increases
(St. Paul, MN)– Local chambers of commerce from across the state gathered Monday for a State Capitol press conference to explain that local government aid is critical to business growth and livable communities throughout the state and that the governor and legislature must come together to produce a budget compromise that includes both cuts and a state revenue increase.
The group said that the disproportionate cuts to LGA over the past years have driven up property taxes 65% across the state since 2002, with greater Minnesota taking the biggest hits.
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Mayors across the state are speaking up against LGA cuts in the tax conference committee report. If the reductions are signed into law, they would put even more pressure on property taxpayers and could further reduce core services.
ST. PAUL - A Republican tax bill that cuts state payments to cities upset city leaders. The House-Senate tax conference committee agreed late Thursday to trim Local Government Aid as it wrapped up a tax bill, and phasing out aid to Duluth, St. Paul and Minneapolis. Comments rolled in all day Friday.
“Last night, the tax conference committee decided to cut an additional 29 percent of Local Government Aid funding and cripple the state’s largest cities by phasing out their funding,” said Park Rapids Mayor Nancy Carroll, president of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities. “The House and Senate majority’s plan to balance the state budget by relying entirely on spending cuts and property tax increases is unacceptable.”
Read the article in the Bemidji Pioneer here.
Mayor Chris Coleman, City of Saint Paul
Mayor R. T. Rybak, City of Minneapolis
When a bill was passed at the State Capitol to eliminate Local Government Aid (LGA) from Minneapolis, Saint Paul and Duluth, mayors from greater Minnesota and across the state didn’t lie low: instead, they came to the defense of Minnesota’s job-creating core cities and have stood by us in defending a policy that has served our entire state well for over 40 years.
Why? Because LGA has been instrumental to the success of Minnesota. LGA keeps local communities economically vibrant by helping taxpayers pay for critical services and keeping property taxes down for businesses and families.
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St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman joined New Ulm Mayor Robert Buessman, North Mankato Mayor Mark Dehan, and Mankato City Council member Mike Laven in Mankato to highlight the importance of LGA to southern Minnesota and the whole state. The Mankato Free Press covered the story here and KEYC’s story can be viewed here.
Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak attended similar press conferences in Alexandria and Moorhead. He was joined in Alexandria by mayor H. Dan Ness, Elbow Lake mayor Jay McNamar and Morris mayor Sheldon Giese. In Moorhead, Rybak spoke with city council member (and mayor pro-tem) Greg Lemke and other city officials. KSAX wrote about the Alexandria stop here and Inforum covered the meeting in Moorhead here.
On Tuesday, April 26th, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman met with New Ulm Mayor Robert Beussman, Mankato City Council President Mike Laven and North Mankato Mayor Mark Dehen. They highlighted how a large majority of area businesses support LGA and support keeping it at its current levels for all cities.
From the Mankato Free Press:
Mankato attorney Randy Berkland spoke to the business community’s interest in the program: “Having a vibrant city and surrounding vibrant small towns is good for our growth.”
“We recognize a sharing of the pain. Our concern is when the cutbacks are directed at one place,” Berkland said.
Read the Mankato Free Press story here
The Twin Cities Daily Planet ran a series of articles about LGA and how the budget battles at the legislature could affect the future of Minnesota’s cities. These four stories highlight some of the voices in the debate and the possible consequences of the bills under consideration at the Capitol:
Cut LGA? Fighting words for mayors across Minnesota
What “no new taxes” means for local property owners
Looking for the money: What about local sales taxes?
Mayors to state lawmakers: We don’t want the Twin Cities to become Detroit
The Albert Lea Tribune turns to botany as a metaphor to describe the interconnectedness of Minnesota communities. Their April 4th editorial focuses on the importance of LGA in equalizing property taxes across the state and helping all communities provide basic services.
It has become frustrating for people in Greater Minnesota and in Minneapolis and St. Paul to see increasing property taxes, industrial taxes and fees and yet have fewer services - all thanks to the annual barrage the suburban leaders make on local government aid.
Granite Falls Mayor Dave Smiglewski said it best last week in a conference call: “Minnesota is one state and we succeed or fail based on whether we work together.”
Read the entire editorial here