Minnesota Mayors Unite for Governor Dayton's Budget

By KBJR News 1

April 10, 2013 Updated Apr 10, 2013 at 5:55 PM CST

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.COM)

Mayor's gathered from around the state today to support Governor Dayton's recommendation for Local Government Aid.

It's money that helps cities across the state – and has been in short supply over the past few years.

Mayors from across the state of Minnesota joined Mayor Don Ness on his turf to talk dollars.

"For the first time in a decade Minnesota's property tax payers and local officials are being treated like grownups who can make their own decisions instead of having the legislatures in St. Paul stick their nose into how dollars are spent in your neighborhood," says Mayor R.T. Rybak.

Governor Mark Dayton's goal is to increase Local Government Aid by 80 million dollars, allowing local governments to decide where, and how, money is spent in their community.

"Governor Dayton would put the decisions back in the local community, let you and your local officials decide whether you need more police on the street whether you need the road repaired, whether you need lower property taxes," says Rybak.

State leaders say over the past few years the state has seen a significant drop in LGA funding.

"We've seen about a 24 – percent decline since 200," Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans.

And even with past distributions, city officials have experienced sudden and unexpected cuts making local budgeting nearly impossible.

"Local government aid is so unpredictable that you might get a 2 – million dollar grant in one year then the next year you might get a million or maybe nothing," Commissioner Frans adds.

If the proposed 80 million comes to fruition, local governments should expect to see about half of it materialize as property tax refunds.

Each mayor will then decide how best to use the money.

"We'd probably dedicate that or put a large majority of that towards street repair, other cities may have other priorities," says Mayor Don Ness.

The proposed 18 percent increase in LGA, will not get the state back to it's previous levels.

However, the Mayor's agree, it's the first step in the right direction.

Posted to the web by Gabrielle Ware
gware@kbjr.com

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