Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Statement by League of Minnesota Cities Executive Director Jim Miller re: introduction of legislation affecting state aids

State lawmakers are proposing legislation that, once again, would unduly shift the burden of solving the latest state budget crisis to local property tax payers in Minnesota. If enacted as stands, Senate File 60 would cut local government aid and market value homestead credit reimbursements to cities by $143 million for 2011. These cuts are above-and-beyond the $56.5 million in city reductions already imposed for 2011 in last year’s supplemental budget bill.

This proposal could not have come at a worse time as cities have already cut services to the bone, and many have been forced to raise property taxes, as well, in the wake of previous aid cuts over the past two years. Under the provisions of SF 60, cities will have no chance to levy back any portion of the proposed mid-year 2011 cuts since budgets and levies have already been set through December.

Today’s proposal addresses only about 17 percent of the state’s $6.2 billion deficit. While we realize that balancing the state budget requires tough choices, we hope that legislators will consider solutions that don’t force local property tax increases or threaten basic services that contribute to quality of life in our Minnesota communities.