Local governments want to cut costs by not publishingby Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Local government officials and the Minnesota Newspaper Association are at odds over whether a long-standing requirement to publish certain government information should continue.
Officials representing local governments say the practice costs too much money and can be published on a website for less money.
Jim Mulder, with the Association of Minnesota Counties, says publishing budget and other notices costs local governments too much money.
His organization and others are asking the Legislature to change the law and allow them to publish the information online instead.
"In the end, we think counties should have a decision as to whether they publish or not particularly two of them -- tax forfeited property and publishing our financial statement," Mulder said. "Those would be the two that we think that we think would make more sense to put it on the website so people have access to them on a daily basis."
Mark Anfinson, an attorney for the Minnesota Newspaper Association, said the publication requirement accounts for only a fraction of a local government's budget. He also says publishing the information in a newspaper is the most transparent process.
"I don't believe for a minute that there's a factual basis for saying that the government should be allowed exclusively to be allowed to disseminate this information," Anfinson said.
Anfinson also argued that many people don't have internet access.
The proposal is one of many state requirements that local governments are working to remove to save money.
Lawmakers say they're looking to remove certain requirements since they may have to cut state aid to local government.