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Action Alert

This legislative session, the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities and the Greater Minnesota Partnership have teamed up to explore ways to address the child care shortage in Greater Minnesota. 

The child care crisis is a multi-faceted problem with no easy solution, but we strongly believe there are actions the Legislature and Governor can take to help address this issue. This session, our organizations are advocating for two bills that would appropriate a total of $13 million in state funding with the goal of increasing child care capacity in Greater Minnesota. You can read more about the bills in our handout: The Child Care Conundrum.

As the bills make their way through the legislative process, it has become apparent that some legislators do not have a clear understanding of the full scale of this issue and its impact on Greater Minnesota communities. Some metro-area legislators have even told us that they “just aren’t hearing very much” about the problem, at least not as it pertains to economic development in Greater Minnesota.

We know that the child care shortage is indeed a big problem in Greater Minnesota. You have told us about the businesses that won’t expand because there are too few child care providers in your area or the families who opted not to relocate to your city because there is no one to watch the kids while the parents are at work. We need you to share those same stories with our lawmakers.

How you can help:  Write a letter or email to Governor Tim Walz, House Speaker Melissa Hortman and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka explaining how the child care shortage affects businesses and economic growth in your community. Please send the letter by no later than Thursday, March 28.

Elements to include in the letter or email:

  • Address it to Governor Tim Walz, House Speaker Melissa Hortman and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (see contact info below).
  • Explain who you are and how you and your city/business/organization are involved in the child care issue.
  • Share how the child care shortage impacts your city/business/organization, with a focus on the economic development aspect.
  • Use specific examples! (i.e. a business that is reluctant to expand in your community, the struggle to keep existing providers or encourage new ones to open a child care business, the local economic impact of parents not being to be in the workforce, etc.)

Contact info:

Governor Tim Walz
130 State Capitol
75 Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155
Email contact form

Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman
463 State Office Building 
St. Paul, MN 55155
rep.melissa.hortman@house.mn

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka
95 University Avenue W.
Minnesota Senate Bldg, Room 3113
St. Paul, MN 55155
Email form

Send us a copy: Please send a copy of the letter or email to us at CGMC_Communications@flaherty-hood.com.

Enlist others! Share this email with other businesses, organizations and leaders in your area and encourage them to write letters as well.

Let’s make sure no lawmaker can say that they haven’t “heard enough” from Greater Minnesotans about this problem!

If you have any questions, please contact GMNP and CGMC lobbyist Scott McMahon at shmcmahon@flaherty-hood.com or 651-225-1908. Thank you!

Gov. Tim Walz made good on his promise to support Local Government Aid (LGA) when he unveiled his budget recommendations today. The Governor’s budget proposal includes a $30.5 million increase in LGA, which is the amount needed to bring the program back to its 2002 level. Restoring LGA to the 2002 funding level is the top priority for the CGMC this session, so we are excited to have the Governor’s support.

The Governor’s budget proposal for LGA is encouraging, but there is still a long ways to go until the state budget is finalized. It is vital that we let the Governor know we appreciate his efforts and encourage him to keep up the momentum on LGA.

Take action now! Contact Governor Walz as soon as possible and let him know how important LGA is to your community and thank him for including the $30.5 million LGA increase in his budget recommendations.

Contact info for Gov. Walz

  • Send an email using this online contact form
  • Call the Governor’s Office’s at 651-201-3400 or toll-free at 800-657-3717
  • Mail a letter to:
    Office of Governor Tim Walz 
    130 State Capitol
    75 Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
    St. Paul, MN 55155

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.

In the final hours of the Legislative session, the Legislature passed a bonding bill that includes approximately $123 million in funding for the Public Facilities Authority clean water infrastructure grant and loan programs. Funding for these programs is one of the CGMC’s top legislative priorities for 2018, and many CGMC members are on the list to receive grants and/or low-cost loans through the PFA programs this year.

It is essential that Gov. Dayton signs the bonding bill and does not line-item veto any of the clean water infrastructure funding. Even if your city is not seeking PFA funding this year, it is essential to continue to fund these programs so that funding is available when your city needs it.

Take action now!
Contact Gov. Dayton today and urge him to sign the bonding bill without line-item vetoing any of the funding for clean water infrastructure programs. Tell him that:

  • Funding for clean water infrastructure grant and loan programs is vital to Greater Minnesota communities.
  • Cities cannot hold off on making critical repairs and upgrades to their water facilities — this funding is needed now.
  • If funding does not come into fruition this year, cities will either continue to fall behind on infrastructure upgrades/repairs or be forced to drastically raise rates on businesses and residents to cover the costs.

Contact Info
Call Gov. Dayton at 651-201-3400 or 1-800-657-3717 or send him an email using this online form: https://mn.gov/governor/contact-us/form/

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

With less than a month left in the legislative session, the House and Senate Capital Investment Committees are busy assembling their bonding bills. The top bonding priority for Greater Minnesota cities this session is funding for clean water infrastructure grant and loan programs.

With billions of dollars of need statewide over the next 20 years, it is essential that the Legislature pass a large bonding bill that includes at least $167 million for water infrastructure programs (as included in SF 2668/HF 3122).

While vital to helping our communities, this funding alone will not be enough to make wastewater and water upgrades affordable for many of our cities. The Legislature should also create a supplemental grant program (SF 3075/HF 3332) that will ensure city sewer rates will not bankrupt rural residents.

Take action today!

It is critical that CGMC city leaders email or call Capital Investment Committee Chairs Rep. Dean Urdahl and Sen. Dave Senjem, House Speaker Kurt Daudt, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and your own legislators.

Ask them to pass a bonding bill that includes at least $167M for clean water infrastructure grant and loan programs for cities and also funds a new supplemental grant program. Let them know that:

  • Funding for clean water infrastructure grant and loan programs is a “must-have” component of a strong and balanced bonding bill.
  • At least $167 million is needed this year to keep up with the growing demand caused by aging infrastructure and the need to comply with new and proposed regulations. Anything less $167 million means cities will continue to fall behind on upgrading and repairing infrastructure.
  • Most cities lack the resources to pay for these costly upgrades. Without financial assistance from the state, including the funding provided under the proposed supplemental grant program, user rates for residents and businesses will skyrocket.

Contact Information

For more legislators’ contact information, visit:

Need more information?

Please read these CGMC handouts for more information about these important bonding proposals:

If you have any additional questions, please contact CGMC environmental lobbyist Elizabeth Wefel at eawefel@flaherty-hood.com.

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.