Standing up for our best interest

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 3, 2003

We have spent many long hours on the floor this past week, meeting in day and night sessions to act on major finance (or omnibus) bills for transportation, crime prevention, agriculture, environment, state government, jobs and economic development, K-12 education, higher education and health and human services. In fact, we did not come off the floor until after 4 a.m. on Friday morning.

The only committee on which I serve that is still meeting is the Committee on Taxes. The tax committee will deliver the last big bill that comes to the floor (probably later this week) and it will contain reductions in local government aid (LGA) &045; cuts to our local units of government.I have spent lots of time working on the tax bill this year. It is one of the most important bills for our area. As you may know, I have been working on a plan that would ease the proposed reductions in LGA to cities like Albert Lea by trimming aid to the state’s market value credit program. I understand that there will have to be some reductions in LGA to help address the state’s budget deficit but they shouldn’t be so disproportionate as to benefit wealthier suburbs at the expense of poorer communities in rural Minnesota.

There are almost three dozen members who have signed onto my bill.That has not made me the most popular person with some members of my caucus who seem to be forgetting some of the promises they made during the campaign season &045; to represent your district first and your party second.

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Last week, Gov. Tim Pawlenty released his new LGA plan which was discussed in tax committee, as the tax committee chairman released what he hopes will be the committee bill. The governor’s new LGA formula would rely on criteria such as as population declines, percentage of 1940s-and-older housing and household size. But cities such as Albert Lea still would bear an enormous burden.

To follow the party line, I was expected to vote for a new LGA formula and cuts that in the long run would devastate our communities and raise property taxes. I couldn’t do that. I decided I had to vote with the best interests of my district in mind and what I believe are the best interests of all of Minnesota. I offered an amendment to the tax bill in committee. Unfortunately, it was defeated. But the fight is not yet over. We move to the House floor where I will again offer the amendment.


Just a reminder, if you have a computer and Internet access, be sure to sign up for my legislative e-mail newsletter. Just go to, and enter your e-mail address after clicking on “Email Update.”Got a question or concern? Write me at 579 State Office Building, 100 Constitution Ave., St. Paul, MN 55155, or call me, toll-free, at 1-877-377-9441. My e-mail address is

Rep. Dan Dorman, R-Albert Lea, represents District 27A, consisting of Freeborn County and part of Mower County, in the Minnesota House of Representatives.