Archived Story

Editorial: LGA plan is good deal for rural Minn.

Published 12:24pm Thursday, May 2, 2013

After a decade of inconsistent policy and budget cuts, Minnesota’s local government aid may get a long needed fix under a new compromise this year.

The LGA program assists cities with low property tax wealth and/or greater needs to provide necessary services for economic growth and to help maintain reasonable property tax rates. The LGA compromise being considered by the Minnesota Legislature is a good deal for west central Minnesota cities. It is beneficial for outstate regional centers, such as Willmar, and also for Twin Cities suburbs.

Over the past decade, state lawmakers have struggled to refine an LGA formula and also to appropriately fund the LGA concept, especially during recent state deficits.

As a result, many cities, such as Willmar, have seen a continuing decline in LGA support from the state. The LGA decline has resulted in government budget reductions — from road repair to police staffing to library hours — property tax levy increases or a combination of both.

Many home and business owners have experienced property tax increases in recent years. In fact, Willmar Mayor Frank Yanish reported his private business this year experienced a significant increase in property tax.

The LGA compromise under consideration is not perfect, but it is a significant improvement over recent years. More importantly, metro cities and suburbs and cities across the state have all agreed to this compromise.

The time is here for the Legislature to approve this LGA compromise and help stabilize state funding for cities and counties.

— West Central Tribune, April 25