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Minnesota Mayors: Opportunity Emerging to Protect Property Taxpayers and Communities
Minnesota Mayors: Opportunity Emerging to Protect Property Taxpayers and Communities

MINNEAPOLIS – SAINT PAUL — Mayors from across the state gathered today in Saint Paul for a State Capitol press conference, saying a rare opportunity is emerging for Democrats and Republicans to work together on a budget compromise that will reverse the trend of rising property taxes and continued cuts to critical community services such as police, fire, libraries and street maintenance.

“Gov. Dayton’s budget protects local government aid funding and shows that he is sincere and committed to holding the line on property taxes, a goal that should spur a bipartisan effort to make affordable, vibrant communities a reality,” said Bruce Ahlgren, Mayor of Cloquet and a member of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities.

“We believe that rural Republicans, whose communities rely on LGA to stay strong and competitive, will be able to work with Gov. Dayton and their leadership to forge a budget agreement to protect property taxpayers and cities across the state,” said Ahlgren.

Ahlgren cited Minnesota Revenue statistics that show property taxes have increased over $3 billion since 2002 in Minnesota, an increase of more than 68%.

“With a $6 billion budget deficit, there is no question of whether taxes will be going up, the question is which taxes.” said Nancy Carroll, Mayor of Park Rapids and President of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities. “Minnesotans have had it with the State’s continually doing a ‘bait and switch’ every time it has a budget shortfall—pushing the responsibility onto local property taxpayers.”

Joining the rural mayors were both Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, whose cities also rely on local government aid funding to offset property taxes and fund essential services.

“Whether you’re a Republican from Milaca or Moorhead or a Democrat from Mankato or Minneapolis, holding the line on middle-class property-tax increases is Minnesota common sense,” said Mayor Rybak. “With Governor Dayton’s budget proposal, we have the first real opportunity in a long time to do just that. We all know that the Governor won’t get everything he wants and the Legislature won’t get everything it wants, but the budget solution ought to include bipartisan agreement to hold the line on property taxes and stop passing increases onto business owners and homeowners. “

Mayor Coleman echoed that local government aid has been a critical tool in helping Minnesota businesses succeed.

“Governor Dayton proposed a budget that protects businesses and home owners from property tax increases. It is time we call on Republican legislative leaders to propose a budget that will protect small businesses from property tax increases as well. With Gov. Dayton, Republicans, and business leaders who support LGA all working together, we will keep ‘open for business signs’ in windows across the state.” Mayor Coleman said.

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