Mayors urge legislators to support LGA plan

City officials gathered Tuesday in support of Governor’s common-sense proposals to stabilize government aid and property taxes

SAINT PAUL – Mayor Chris Coleman joined mayors from across Minnesota at the State Capitol today to publicly urge state lawmakers to support Governor Mark Dayton’s proposal to stabilize the local government aid partnership between Minnesota cities and the state.

Among many of the Governor’s common-sense proposals in the budget released last month was a plan to begin the stabilization of local government aid after a decade of unrelenting cuts that often left property taxpayers footing the bill for the State’s own budgetary challenges.

“Governor Dayton has made it clear that one-time budget fixes balanced on the backs of taxpayers can no longer be tolerated. By stabilizing local government aid, Governor Dayton is not only taking crucial steps to stabilize property taxes, but sending a clear message that the State will responsibly deal with its budget challenges rather than asking cities to bear the burden alone,” Mayor Chris Coleman said.

Local government aid was established in the 1971 Minnesota Miracle as a partnership between cities and the state. The partnership recognized cities’ significant local sales tax contribution to the state, and the importance of ensuring that the funding of basic local needs, such as police and firefighter services, would not be placed on the backs of middle-class families.

Over the past decade, as local government aid has been persistently cut, property taxpayers have seen an 86 percent increase in their property tax bills—an unacceptable burden on middle-class families across the state.

“LGA is critical to provide essential services that property taxpayers cannot absorb,” Saint Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis said.

“There is a vital connection between first ring suburbs and the core cities. The collaboration between the two is important because suburban communities provide a lot of the workers who are employed in the core cities and yet we have very low tax base with aging infrastructure. LGA plays a vital role in allowing cities to redevelop and meet the demands of the 21st century,” Richfield Mayor Debbie Goettel said.

Governor Dayton’s budget proposal would add $80 million overall to LGA in 2014, and increase LGA funds incrementally each following year.