Greater Minnesota city leaders renew push for special session

Below is a CGMC press release that was sent to media outlets across the state. A PDF version is available here.

For Immediate Release: July 22, 2016
Contact: Julie Liew, jlliew@flaherty-hood.com

Greater Minnesota city leaders renew push for special session
At annual meeting, CGMC members call on Governor, legislative leaders to keep focus on rural priorities when Legislature reconvenes

AUSTIN, MINN.—At an annual gathering of city leaders from Greater Minnesota, officials from across the state renewed their push for a special legislative session this summer to address the failed tax and bonding bills.

Mayors, city council members and city staff from all over Greater Minnesota convened in Austin this week for the annual Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC) Summer Conference. With news that Gov. Dayton and legislative leaders appear to be inching closer to an agreement on a special session after they resumed negotiations July 15, CGMC conference attendees were cautiously optimistic that Greater Minnesota needs could still be addressed this year.

“The regular session was a huge letdown, but there is still a chance for lawmakers to get something positive done,” said Alexandria Mayor Sara Carlson, who was elected president of the CGMC for 2016-2017 at the organization’s membership meeting Friday morning. “Now that special session talks have started up again, we are hopeful that the Governor and legislative leaders can set aside their differences and pass bills that will help communities in Greater Minnesota and throughout the state.”

At Friday’s membership meeting, the CGMC adopted a resolution in support of a special session that addresses critical Greater Minnesota needs that had been included in the final versions of the failed bills. The CGMC’s top priorities for the special session include:

  • $20 million increase in funding for the Local Government Aid (LGA) program
  • $133.5 million for clean water infrastructure grant and loan programs
  • $12 million for the Greater Minnesota Business Development Infrastructure (BDPI) Grant Program, which helps cities pay for public infrastructure needed to encourage private business growth
  • $200 million for the Corridors of Commerce program
  • $50 million for city streets, divided between cities with populations of 5,000 and above and those with fewer than 5,000 residents

“The tax bill and bonding bill each contained several provisions that would benefit Greater Minnesota,” Carlson said. “If there is a special session, we urge Gov. Dayton and the Legislature to keep focus on top priorities like an LGA increase and funding for water treatment facilities, highways and city streets. These issues remain extremely important to rural communities. We want to make sure they aren’t overshadowed by other matters when the Legislature reconvenes.”

###