Specifics: LGA

Here’s the part I’ve been looking forward to; Emmer plans to fundmantally reform Local Government Aid:

The Emmer plan calls for reforming Local Government Aid to focus solely on public safety and critical infrastructure needs. Over several decades, LGA expanded to an often politically targeted subsidy for many local governments – in the process paying for non-critical services. An Emmer administration will reform local government aid giving certainty to local units of government as they plan their budgets.
An Emmer Administration will immediately sit down with the League of Minnesota Cities, Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities and Association of Minnesota Counties to identify mandate reforms that will elevate unnecessary burdens on local units of government.

The Emmer plan calls for reforming Local Government Aid to focus solely on public safety and critical infrastructure needs. Over several decades, LGA expanded to an often politically targeted subsidy for many local governments – in the process paying for non-critical services.

Where do we start on this one?  LGA has become a vehicle to allow local government to launder their spending through the rest of the state’s taxpayers, avoiding accountability with their own taxpayers. Especially the DFL-addled governments of the Twin Cities and Duluth, which get LGA funding 2.5 times greater per capita than the rest of the state.

An Emmer administration will reform local government aid giving certainty to local units of government as they plan their budgets.

It’d add accountability to local governments (which will be spun as “higher property taxes” by DFL-dominated local governments, terrified of the backlash their own citizens might eventually visit on them when they actually have to be responsible for their own spending).

This reform is long, long overdue.

11 thoughts on “Specifics: LGA

  1. It’s about time that someone tried to end the shell game that is LGA. Let the local governments who are spending the money be accountable to the same taxpayers who are providing the funding.

    From the politician’s perspective, LGA is a wonderful idea, you get tax money from taxpayers who can’t vote against you. This is a recipe for reckless spending.

  2. “local government to launder their spending” the vast majority of which is for the SPPD and SPFD. Until they start shuttering fire houses and pulling cops off the street no one is serious about cutting local spending.

  3. I don’t honestly know exactly what dollar for what account comes from what source. I do know that LGA allows cities to transfer their spending elsewhere without accountability to their own city’s voters. That’s just wrong.

  4. Why would the money not be fungible?

    Police and Fire make up 24% of total expenditures from the city and 44% of the cities work force. Good luck with laying a single one of them off and cutting dime one from that budget.

    Absolute find of the day. Did you know that the city of St. Paul had a budget poem for 2008? Neither did I. http://www.stpaul.gov/DocumentView.aspx?DID=1347

    BTW, the suburbs and outstate should absolutely subsidize Minneapolis and St. Paul.

  5. padraigtim said:

    “BTW, the suburbs and outstate should absolutely subsidize Minneapolis and St. Paul.”

    Only someone living in Minneapolis or St. Paul would think so. I say, if they are so great and wonderful, they certainly shouldn’t need the equivalent of welfare for cities.

  6. “suburbs and outstate should absolutely subsidize Minneapolis and St. Paul.”

    Baloney, we have them in an encirclement! Now we should lay waste….(kidding).

  7. Your hypocrisy is rank. You would never in million years allow the people who need the goods and services provided by the cities or the people who necessitate such large police forces into your bucolic villages and yet you bitch and moan endlessly about the fact that you have to pick up part of the tab for us to deal with it.

  8. Hehe — obviously you’ve never been to my “bucolic village”.

    Anyway, cry more, padraigtim. My “bucolic village” government doesn’t maintain redundant, useless commissions, nor do they invest in fancy buildings or sculpture fountains. Your “poor” city governments think those are good investments of public cash. Cool, but let the people who elect them also supply them with that cash.

    When your mayor comes panhandling at the capitol, he deserves to ride a boot back to city hall.

  9. Back in 2001, all cities got LGA. There were major changes to a variety of programs and funding formulas, and the net result was that most suburbs went from getting significant aid, to no aid, with some of them having the state keep back part of the city’s tax levy to balance the state budget (a practice which continues today). The suburban elected officials, by and large, rolled up their sleeves, prioritized, and made some very painful cuts and fundamental changes to how things run. But they didn’t whine about it, they led.

    Meanwhile, in Mpls, the entire spread of what they are complaining about has fallen within a relatively small $30 million or so, out of a $1,400,000,000 budget. Yet they have been using that fluctuating part of their budget as an excuse for failure on just about everything, for nearly a decade. Meanwhile, the city spends about $70 million per year just on subsidizing development (TIF districts). They had the opportunity to reduce that amount significantly, but chose not to.

    The priorities in Minneapolis are very, very different from the rest of the metro. Other cities don’t have a dedicated line item for public art, and if they did, it certainly wouldn’t be considered an untouchable part of the budget.

  10. Wendy,

    Thanks. After all the propaganda I hear from the League of Minnesota Cities, it’s good to hear someone actually dig beneath the spin.

  11. padraigtim Says: yet you bitch and moan endlessly about the fact that you have to pick up part of the tab for us to deal with it.

    Explain to me why I should pay for your failures? Your expectation is the rest of us should be obliged to bail you out of your miserable condition. It’s your bed, you made it what it is, you sleep in it!!!!!!!!!!

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