Mayors from across Minnesota, from the biggest to one of the smallest cities, gave Gov. Mark Dayton a unified message today: State aid is vital for their budgets.
Dayton did not argue. In fact, the Democrat governor said that continuing state aid is one of his priorities.
â€œWeâ€™ve already done out share to help with the (state) budget,â€ Granite Falls Mayor Dave Smiglewski told Dayton, referring to Local Government Aid and other state cutbacks since 2003.
Added Thief River Falls Mayor Steve Nordhagen: â€œThief River Falls and other cities out there would not exist without Local Government Aid.â€
About 20 city officials delivered the same message to a governor who wants LGA and other local government payments increased in the next two-year budget. However, Republicans who control the Legislature already passed a bill, vetoed by Dayton, to keep LGA at current levels. Cities had expected an increase and some included that extra money in their budgets.
â€œMore people need more services,â€ Dayton said, and cities without big property tax bases must rely on state aid to help.
Talking to reporters after the meeting, Dayton said that LGA is a high priority of his, but said he and legislators must compromise as they negotiate a budget that must plug a $5 billion deficit. He would not say whether he could accept lower local aid payments.