Today, the Minnesota Senate heard Senate File 749, a bill from Senate Republicans that would penalize Local Government Aid (LGA). The state distributes LGA to cities across Minnesota for general purposes, and it is used by cities to provide basic community services, such as public safety, fire and public works. It has also been used as a mechanism to offer cities property tax relief.
The bill today would allow local governments with unpaid expenses resulting from assistance provided to another city to apply for reimbursement of those costs. The reimbursement would come from a reduction in the receiving city’s LGA or county’s County Program Aid (CPA). Currently, cities work cooperatively under mutual aid agreements every day, and there are no significant examples of unresolved disputes. This bill would add an unnecessary, punitive measure that could deplete city resources and increase property taxes.
After voting against the bill, Senate DFL Assistant Minority Leader Melisa Franzen released the following statement:
“Minnesota has a history of helping each other out during times of need. The Senate Republicans put forward a bill today that was divisive and would have rippling negative effects across our entire state by creating bureaucracy that would effectively defund public safety and fire support in our communities and could potentially increase property taxes in our communities.”
“To use LGA to penalize our communities is dangerous and not in the spirit of who we are as Minnesotans. We can’t escape emergencies and we need to be there for each other when they occur, without a worry about what will happen to a communities’ resources in the future if they ask for help. As Senator Paul Wellstone said, ‘We all do better when we all do better.’ Our communities, across the state, will thrive when we support each other, without hesitation, and not penalize them in their time of need.”