This proposal would be a good thing for people who are not engorged with unearned privilege. Which makes it very out of character for Minnesota legislative Republicans. So you wonder if their own people are telling them that this November could indeed be massively ugly for them, if they don’t try to do something that actually affects most Minnesotans’ lives for the better. (It’s also interesting to consider, in this context, that one of Tim Pawlenty’s “legacies” as governor was slashing LGA.)
Minnesota cities that rely on local government aid to fund a number of crucial government services have seen appropriations follow a downward trend for 15 years. But those appropriations could reach their highest amount since 2002.
Sponsored by Rep. Paul Anderson (R-Starbuck), HF3493 would raise the appropriation for city local government aid from $534.4 million to $564.4 million beginning in calendar year 2019.
The bill was held over by the House Property Tax and Local Government Finance Division Wednesday for possible omnibus bill inclusion. Its companion, SF3082, sponsored by Sen. Bill Weber (R-Luverne), awaits action by the Senate Taxes Committee.
(Just a reminder that all MN House seats are up this year, but the state Senate is not.)
Comment below fold.
From Mac Hall: Hmmm … “one of Tim Pawlenty’s “legacies” as governor was slashing LGA” means that voters need to take a walk down memory lane …. to his 2009 State of the State address and what he was advocating for (as this commentary noted Minnesota’s infrastructure is aging and needing upgrades … in Backus, Biwabik, Chisholm, Duluth, Eveleth, Gilbert, Hamburg, Hibbing, Mora, North Branch, Vernon Center, Waldorf, Willmar or any of the more than 30 communities that submitted requests for funding through the bonding proposal for the 2010 legislative session.)
Fast forward to today … do you think that Rod Hamilton who represents HD22B hears about the need to increase the state’s share of the costs for wastewater infrastructure from residents in Lakefield ? Lakefield, a small city with a population of 1,691, is also bracing for potentially massive rate increases to pay for a $22 million upgrade to its wastewater system. The city’s average residential water and sewer rates would have to nearly double to $190 a month to cover this cost without financial assistance from the state. The potential increases are so high that there is concern people won’t want to live there. The 2010 question is being repeated today — “How do they expect our small cities to survive?”
It isn’t just Lakefield, but the city of Glencoe (18B is represented by Glenn Gruenhagen) is facing $22.3 million in costs to replace portions of its facility that are more than 50 years old … Albert Lea (represented by another Republican, Peggy Bennett HD27A) needs to undergo a project that is estimated to cost $72.5 million. Without state help, the city’s wastewater rates would have to nearly triple to an average of $1,082 a year.
A side note to this problem is that many communities are surrounded by farms — and while the federal government should do something with infrastructure, Trump is waging a tariff war … with the first victim being the farmer (who needs to know that he will have a customer for his soybeans). Property taxes are a fixed cost to the family farm … and they will not want to see their taxes go up because their community has to upgrade its water infrastructure.
So should it be a surprise that the Republicans in the state legislature want to show some level of understanding of the need for state funding ? And their answer …. $30 million.