Below is the contents of letter sent today from CGMC President Robert Broeder to Governor Mark Dayton, House Speaker Kurt Daudt, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, House Minority Leader Paul Thissen and Senate Minority Leader David Hann. A PDF version of the letter is available here.
June 3, 2016
Dear Governor Dayton and Legislative Leaders,
I am writing to urge you, in the strongest possible terms, to resolve the outstanding problems with the tax bill and pass it into law. If you cannot reach agreement for a special session on bonding and/or transportation issues, we urge you to agree on a special session for the sole purpose of correcting the error in the tax bill so that it can become law.
The cities of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities were very encouraged that an increase to Local Government Aid was embraced on a bi-partisan basis and included in the tax bill. As a result of this boost in LGA, communities across the state will see restrained property taxes and an increased ability to provide quality services. We also welcome the property tax relief for our farmers and business owners that is also contained in the bill. In addition, the tax bill contains many smaller provisions that are important to communities throughout Minnesota. The reasons to want to have a tax bill are numerous and significant.
It is greatly concerning that the legislative process, where decisions involving hundreds of millions of dollars and numerous topics, yielded a mistake that could cost the state more than $100 million in the next three years. Clearly, there need to be changes in how the Legislature conducts its business so as to lessen the potential for these kinds of “drafting errors.”
Nonetheless, we are encouraged that there appears to be a willingness on the part of all parties to correct the problems that the Governor identified with the tax bill. We urge the Governor and the Legislature to do so, and do so soon.
Minnesotans are growing wary of our governing institutions’ apparent dysfunction. Sadly, many citizens are no longer surprised by it. However, it would be absurd if a bill that passed with such strong bi-partisan support in both bodies of the Legislature — and whose final contents are seemingly agreed to — does not become law.
I understand that there are significant and legitimate policy issues preventing a bonding and transportation package from being completed. As I told members of the press at the conclusion of the regular session, I and other Greater Minnesota city leaders urge your diligence in finding a resolution to those critical issues as well. However, if those items can’t be resolved, passage of a tax bill could be the one significant outcome for the 2016 session.
Robert Broeder, Mayor of Le Sueur
President, Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities