On the Senate floor today, Senate Republicans passed a bill that ties Local Government Aid (LGA) to mutual aid agreements and reimbursements. 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.
In response, Senator Erin Murphy, DFL-Saint Paul, released the following statement:
“We engage in mutual aid because, at times of need, Minnesotans help one another because we understand that – especially in time of crisis – we need each other. Senate File 749 rips apart this basic tenet: that regardless of who we are, where we live, or what we believe, we will offer assistance. This is not just bad policy, but it seeks to sow division at times of crisis, times that call us to act for each other’s safety, fundamental security, and for the promise of a better future in the wake of crisis. That is what we should do for each other, and SF 749 breaks that commitment.”
In response to SF 749, the Senate DFL offered two amendments in an attempt to meet LGA’s unmet needs and hold communities harmless. The first one was a dispute resolution that would delete the language of SF 749 and put forth a process that communities could use to resolve outstanding bills, should there ever be an issue. The second amendment would increase LGA and County Program Aid across the state. Increasing state aids to meet local government’s unmet needs would provide more resources for cities to hire emergency personnel and support local services. It also would offset the detrimental effects of this bill and potentially prevent cities from having to raise property taxes. Both amendments failed due to the lack of support by the Senate Republicans.