Some Officials Pledge To Hold Property Taxes In Exchange For Stable LGA


Eight city officials praising Gov. Mark Dayton for efforts to preserve state aid to cities said they would not raise property taxes if the aid continues.

The officials told Capitol reporters Wednesday that the Democratic governor’s budget proposal would save residents money. They said they could not say if leaders of other cities would forgo property tax increases for stable state aid payments.

“We would like some certainty when it comes to LGA,” Finance Director Marshall Hallock of Red Wing said about Local Government Aid that supplements many cities’ budgets.

Park Rapids Mayor Nancy Carroll, president of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, said the only reason her city has raised property taxes in recent years is to make up for state aid cuts, so if LGA is not cut again Park Rapids’ taxes should not rise.

Dayton’s budget would preserve LGA and other local aids at amounts cities expect. However, Republicans who control the Legislature would reduce the aid below projections, although their budget will not be produced until next month.

Mayors have come to the Capitol for years asking that their aid be saved, although many Republicans say cities can do a better job with their budgets.

“We believe that rural Republicans, whose communities rely on LGA to stay strong and competitive, will be able to work with Gov. Dayton and their leadership to forge a budget agreement to protect property taxpayers and cities across the state,” added Cloquet Mayor Bruce Ahlgren.

Minnesota property taxes have increased 68 percent since 2002, Ahlgren said.