According to Gov. Dayton and the DFL, LGA cuts are directly tied to property tax hikes. Mark Haveman disputes that:

Mark Haveman, with the Minnesota Taxpayers Association, said it’s true that property taxes increased over the past eight years when LGA was cut. But he said property taxes also increased in the early 1990s when LGA funding increased.

“Even in the LGA boom days, there has always been historical increases in per capita city property taxes,” Haveman said. “They’ve been lower than in recent periods, but that doesn’t say it won’t happen.”

Haveman said he believes local governments would spend differently if they didn’t receive state aid.

This information supports my contention that it’s tied directly to local spending decisions, not LGA. In the fat times, people expanded local governments beyond their mission.

Having read through St. Paul’s operating budget in 2008, I know whereof I speak. Though I don’t remember the specific things in the budget that I would’ve cut, I remember thinking that I could’ve cut a third of their operating budget and nobody would’ve noticed.

The thing that should frighten people is that reading through St. Paul’s operating budget took me an entire week. A CITY BUDGET!!! I’m betting that I could get through St. Cloud’s operating budget in a day, possibly a little bit longer.

I spoke with a friend last night who lives in northern Minnesota. We spoke about how cities can save money. I told him about the fact that I’m a 4th of July baby, which explains why I’m such a big fireworks addict.

Last year, after another year of cutting St. Cloud’s budget, Mayor Kleis spoke to the community about the city not paying for the event. Several of the major businesses contributed to the fund. Local citizens contributed, too, some giving $5, some giving $50, some giving $250.

By the time they finished collecting money, they’d collected enough money to put on the most spectacular fireworks display in my lifetime. It lasted about twice as long as in previous years. The fireworks were much more dramatic, too. In short, businesses and private citizens provided the solution to what had previously been a government expenditure.

I’m betting that last year’s solution will become tradition.

The point is that local communities can often provide solutions to things that shouldn’t have been government expenditures in the first place.

This likely wouldn’t have happened without the Great Recession. Using the DFL model, however, the first reaction likely would’ve been to raise taxes or to lobby for more LGA rather than looking for this type of solution.

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One Response to “LGA, Property Taxes Aren’t Linked”

  • Chad Quigley says:

    Well of course property taxes are tied to local spending but most people in large cities (Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth) are DFL faithful and really don’t know how to think for themselves so whatever the party heads tell them (LGA cuts lead to higher taxes) is what they believe and spew.

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