Mayors seek Dayton, GOP compromise to save LGAby Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Minnesota mayors are looking for a budget compromise between Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders that would protect state aid to cities.
Several mayors were quick to embrace Dayton's budget proposal last week, because it spared state aid to cities and counties, known as local government aid, from cuts.
They were back at the Capitol Wednesday suggesting that there will be bipartisan support for the Democratic governor's attempt to hold down property taxes.
During a news conference, Cloquet Mayor Bruce Ahlgren said he believes rural Republicans in the Legislature will work with Dayton.
"I know that I've spoken to some, and we continue to have a dialogue with the rural Republicans and others about the Local Government Aid and the property taxes and the budget," he said. "There is growing support out there that I can see."
Ahlgren didn't offer any names. Republican leaders oppose Dayton's budget plan, and they dispute the claims that LGA reductions trigger local property tax increases.
The Democratic governor is also proposing a $500 million package of public projects aimed at boosting construction employment statewide.
He wants the Republican controlled Legislature to suggest another $500 million worth of projects.
Republicans have been mostly critical of the bill but haven't ruled it out. The bill includes $28 million for flood mitigation projects.
Kevin Goodno, a lobbyist for the the city of Moorhead, told members of the House Capital Investment Committee that $12 million of that total will help complete a project begun three years ago.
"The whole idea behind the flood mitigation dollars is to remove properties that are impacted by flood on a regular basis. The net impact is to reduce the cost of of the emergency response that needs to take place every year," he said.
The biggest single project in the proposed bonding bill is $51 million for a physics and nanotechnology building at the University of Minnesota.