Rybak, Coleman expect local government aid reductionby Dan Olson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul said they expect proposals this legislative session to further reduce local government aid to Minnesota cities.
Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak said the fact the cities are the two largest recipients of the aid needs to be balanced with the amount of money the two cities' residents contribute to the state.
"The partnership we've had with the state, where the residents and people who do business in Minneapolis send a whole bunch of money to the state and we get a whole lot less back, that needs to be rethought," Rybak said. "Because those cuts that we've made disproportionately raise your taxes."
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said expected cuts meant to help with the state's budget deficit need to be balanced and fair.
"We understand that there may be cuts, but what has happened is that property taxes across the state of Minnesota have gone up 75 or 80 percent under the Pawlenty administration because he has disproportionately cut aid to cities," Coleman said.
Republicans who control the Minnesota Legislature said they oppose any effort by DFL Gov. Mark Dayton to raise taxes to help close the state's projected $6.2 billion budget deficit. Dayton has said he'll propose a combination of taxes and budget cuts.
Local officials said state cuts to local government aid have contributed to a 70- to 80-percent increase in local property taxes as elected officials find revenue to make up for the lost aid over the past eight years.
The aid contributes only a small percent of the operating budgets for Minneapolis and St. Paul.