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Action Alert

There are only five weeks left in the 2018 legislative session and the Minnesota Senate has yet to hold a hearing on SF 3082, the CGMC-supported bill to increase LGA funding by $30.5 million to help cities keep up with rising costs and hold down property taxes. The House companion bill, HF 3493, received a committee hearing last week, but so far the Senate has ignored LGA by not hearing any bills that would increase it. It’s time to tell the Senate to step up!

Take action now!

Contact your senator, Senate Tax Committee Chair Roger Chamberlain and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka as soon as possible and urge them to hold a hearing on SF 3082 and increase LGA funding this session.

Tell them that:

  • Any meaningful tax bill must include an increase in LGA—the most effective tool the state has for building strong communities in Greater Minnesota.
  • You and your community are counting on the Legislature to pass a $30.5 million LGA increase this session to finally restore the program to its 2002 level.
  • Last year’s $15 million LGA increase was helpful in allowing many cities to hold down property tax levies and address long-delayed investments. However, the cost to cities to provide services continues to rise due to inflation and other factors.
  • Tell your story of the impact LGA has on your community! Share examples of how your city uses its LGA and how your city might utilize an increase.

Contact info

Questions?

If you have any questions about LGA or the legislative session, please contact Bradley Peterson at bmpeterson@flaherty-hood.com or 651-259-1911.

Members of the House of Representatives are advancing a bill that would penalize cities that receive LGA and also collect a Local Option Sales Tax. HF 3830, chief authored by Rep. Cal Bahr (R-East Bethel), would reduce a city’s LGA by the amount of funds that it collects under a Local Option Sales Tax approved by the city’s voters and authorized by the Legislature.

This bill will be heard on Wednesday, April 11 by the House Property Tax and Local Government Finance Division, chaired by Rep. Steve Drazkowski. We need your voice to push back against this dangerous bill!

Take action today!

It is critical that CGMC city leaders call or e-mail bill author Rep. Cal Bahr and Committee Chair Rep. Steve Drazkowski, as well as Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt and your own House member. Tell them to oppose HF 3830.

Let them know that:

  • This bill harms rural Minnesota, where the majority of cities that collect local sales taxes are located.
  • Local Option Sales Taxes are approved by voters and can only be spent on specific purposes that are authorized by the Legislature. They do not go to fund a city’s general operations or to provide services like fire, police or parks like LGA does.
  • This bill’s LGA cuts would directly result in property tax increases or cuts to city services.
  • The bill disproportionately punishes cities that need LGA the most. Wealthy cities that receive little or no LGA could continue to collect a Local Option Sales Tax without the same consequences.

Contact Information

For more legislators’ contact information, visit:


Need more information?

For more information, please contact CGMC Executive Director Bradley Peterson atBMPeterson@flaherty-hood.com or CGMC lobbyist Shane Zahrt at SAZahrt@flaherty-hood.com.

We thought this bill was dead last session, but now the townships are pushing it once again and we need to stop this effort before it gains momentum.

SF 1749 prohibits a city from pursuing an annexation if the potential annexation area is covered by an orderly annexation agreement with another city. On paper this may sound reasonable, but what happens in practice is that a township will often pit two cities against each other to get the best deal for the township, rather than what is best for the region’s development.

Take action now!

Contact Sen. Dan Hall, chair of Senate Local Government Committee, and tell him that your city opposes SF 1749. In addition, contact your legislators and ask them to reach out to Sen. Hall to let him know that their local cities oppose this harmful legislation.

Tell them that SF 1749 is harmful because:

  • It stifles economic development, particularly in Greater Minnesota.
  • It prevents cities from having a say in how they develop, and instead gives townships disproportionate leverage in negotiating orderly annexation agreements.
  • It drives up the cost of local infrastructure and public services.
  • It would be a stunning restriction of property owner rights:
  • A landowner could be denied the right to connect with city services when building a home.
  • A business owner could be denied the right to build or expand a business.
  • A city may not be able to include property purchased for public purposes—such as for wastewater treatment, water supply or an industrial park—in its own boundaries.

Contact info

Questions?

If you have any questions, please contact CGMC annexation lobbyist Elizabeth Wefel at eawefel@flaherty-hood.com or 651-259-1924.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is currently designing the project selection process it will use to direct the spending of $400 million in bonding and cash that the 2017 Legislature appropriated to the Corridors of Commerce program.

Since it was created in 2013, Corridors of Commerce funding has been split 50-50 between Greater Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro area, and has funded vital expansion and safety projects in both regions. However, because of pressure from the metro area, MnDOT is considering lowering Greater Minnesota’s share of the funding. MnDOT is also proposing a scoring system that would favor corridors that lead through the metro over those that connect Greater Minnesota cities to one another.

MnDOT is taking public comment on the proposed process through this Wednesday, December 20th. CGMC will be submitting a formal comment letter, but it is important that individual city leaders weigh in as well.

Take action now!

As a Greater Minnesota city leader, it is important that you contact MnDOT as soon as possible and urge them to:

  • Maintain the 50-50 split between Greater Minnesota and the metro area for Corridors of Commerce funding, as has been used in previous funding cycles and was understood throughout the 2017 legislative process would remain intact.
  • Reject a scoring system that allows more points for corridors that run through the metro area over those that connect Greater Minnesota cities.
  • Recognize that roads that connect Greater Minnesota communities to one another are just as important as those that connect to the Twin Cities.

More information on MnDOT’s draft scoring process can be found here: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/corridorsofcommerce/

Contact info

Comments MUST be submitted to Patrick Weidemann of MnDOT at pat.weidemann@state.mn.us by Wednesday, December 20.

Questions?

If you have any questions about Corridors of Commerce or MnDOT’s draft scoring process, please contact CGMC transportation lobbyist Shane Zahrt at SAZahrt@flaherty-hood.com or (651) 295-1123.

Click here for a PDF version of this Action Alert.

Last night’s legislative deadline sailed by without action on several key bills, including the tax bill (which includes Local Government Aid funding). Governor Dayton immediately called a special session at 12:01 a.m. this morning, which means legislators are continuing their work to pass budget bills. There is still hope for an LGA increase, but we need your help!

Take action now!
If we are going to secure an LGA increase, it is imperative that you contact Governor Dayton, House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka by 3 p.m. TODAY. Tell them that the final tax bill must include a permanent $20 million increase in LGA per year over the next two years.

Contact info

Questions?
If you have any questions about LGA or the legislative session, please contact Bradley Peterson at bmpeterson@flaherty-hood.com or 651-259-1911.

Time’s almost up!

We are now entering the final days of the legislative session. As the clock winds down, Governor Dayton and legislative leaders remain deep into negotiations with little to show for it thus far. One of the major issues that remains in flux is the tax bill, which is the bill that deals with Local Government Aid.

Take action now!

If we are going to secure an LGA increase, it is absolutely imperative that you contact your legislator and the Governor TODAY. Tell them:

  • The final tax bill must include a $45.5 million increase in LGA.
  • LGA is the single most important tool cities have to hold down property taxes while still providing essential services.
  • With a $1.65 billion state budget surplus, they should easily be able to secure a $45.5 million increase in LGA — the amount needed to bring LGA back to its 2002 level.

Contact info

Questions?

If you have any questions about LGA or the legislative session, please contact Bradley Peterson at bmpeterson@flaherty-hood.com or 651-259-1911.

The Tax Conference Committee unveiled its tax proposal yesterday, and it looks dismal for Local Government Aid.

The bill includes only a $6 million one-time, one-year increase in 2018 and no increase for 2019. This is far below the $45.5 million increase in base funding that is needed to bring LGA back the 2002 level (not even accounting for inflation). This LGA run shows an estimate of how much LGA your city would receive under the conference committee’s proposal, as well as under the other various legislative proposals.

As the Legislature and Governor begin negotiations, now is the time to speak up for your city! With a $1.65 billion state budget surplus and a tax bill that spends $1.15 billion, legislators need to know that their tax bill is simply unacceptable on LGA.

Take action now!

As a Greater Minnesota city leader, it is important that you:

  • Contact your senator and representative as soon as possible and urge them to insist that the tax bill includes a permanent and ongoing $45.5 million increase.
  • Contact Gov. Dayton to thank him for his support for LGA and urge him to continue to fight for more LGA funding in his negotiations with House and Senate leaders.

Contact info

Questions?

If you have any questions about LGA or the legislative session, please contact Bradley Peterson at bmpeterson@flaherty-hood.com or 651-259-1911.

The Legislature’s Easter/Passover break begins this weekend and lasts until April 18. Since many legislators head back to their home districts during the break, it is an ideal time to touch in with them and make your voices heard!

As the House and Senate prepare for conference committees and negotiations during the final seven weeks of the legislative session, it is critical that Greater Minnesota city leaders continue to speak up. Let your legislators know that CGMC priorities are important to your community and that you expect them to fight for these priorities to be included in the final deals.

Please take the following actions as soon as you can:

1. Pass a resolution urging the Legislature and Governor to return LGA to its 2002 level. See this sample resolution that you can customize to your own city’s circumstances. In addition to the decision-makers named at the bottom of the resolution, also send a copy to CGMC staff member Shane Zahrt at sazahrt@flaherty-hood.com. We will keep a running list of cities that pass a resolution.

2. Meet with your legislators. Call your senator’s and representative’s office this week to set up a meeting with them during the legislative break. If you are unable to meet in person, schedule a phone meeting instead. You can find contact info for your legislators here.  Please address the following topics during the meeting:

  • The Legislature and Governor must pass a tax bill this year that includes an LGA increase of $45.5 million. Despite significant growth in the state’s budget since 2002, LGA still lags behind. LGA plays an important role in restraining property taxes and helping cities provide important services to residents and businesses.
  • The Legislature and Governor must agree on a bonding bill that funds critical infrastructure across the state. With the failure to agree on a bonding bill last year, work on critical infrastructure has been stalled. The CGMC strongly supports $167 million for clean water infrastructure grant and loan programs, as well as $15 million for the Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure (BDPI) Grant Program that helps pay for the public infrastructure needed for private business growth.
  • Fund city streets. The CGMC strongly supports $50 million in funding for city streets, with $25 million for cities with populations under 5,000 and $25 million for cities with populations over 5,000.
  • Pass at least $200 million a year in funding for the Corridors of Commerce program with cash as well as bond proceeds. Corridors of Commerce helps fund expansion of critical interregional corridors whose bottlenecks inhibit the flow of goods and services important to the economy of the whole state.

If you have any questions about these action items, CGMC priorities or the legislative session, please contact CGMC Executive Director Bradley Peterson at bmpeterson@flaherty-hood.com or 651-259-1911. 

The Minnesota Senate tax bill, unveiled this morning, contains a $12 million one-time, one-year increase for Local Government Aid in 2018. This is far less than the $45.5 million increase needed to get LGA back to its 2002 funding level. Greater Minnesota senators need to know that the LGA funding in their tax bill is inadequate!

You can view this LGA run to see how the Senate proposal would impact your city’s LGA.

Take action now!

As a Greater Minnesota city leader, it is important that you contact your senator and urge him or her to push for more LGA funding this session.

Tell your senator that:

  • You and other members of your community want the Legislature to pass a $45.5 million LGA increase this session.
  • With a $1.65 billion state budget surplus and a $900 million Senate tax bill, a $45.5 million LGA increase is reasonable and achievable.
  • You are counting on your senator to support this goal and fight for an LGA increase all the way through the end of the legislative session.

Contact info

Questions?

If you have any questions about LGA or the legislative session, please contact Bradley Peterson at bmpeterson@flaherty-hood.com or 651-259-1911.

As the pace picks up at the Legislature, senators and representatives continue to consider the CGMC’s proposal for a $45.5 million increase in LGA over the next two years. The Legislature failed to pass a tax bill last session, and LGA funding stayed stagnant as a result. It’s time to urge your legislators to finish their work this session by passing a tax bill that includes fully restoring LGA to its 2002 funding level.

Take action now!
As a Greater Minnesota city leader, it is imperative that you contact your own legislators, as well as the chairs of the Senate and House Tax Committees. Let them know that:

  • You and other members of your community expect them to pass a tax bill this session that includes a $45.5 million increase in LGA.
  • LGA plays a vital role in helping cities provide essential services and hold down property taxes.
  • A $45.5 million increase would bring LGA back up to its 2002 level—and this doesn’t even account for inflation.

Contact info

Questions?
If you have any questions about LGA or the legislative session, please contact Bradley Peterson at bmpeterson@flaherty-hood.com or 651-259-1911.