Greater Minnesota cities demand attention

Newly drawn legislative districts that reflect population movements within Minnesota give more power to suburbs in next year’s Legislature, but mayors from outside the Twin Cities area pledge to keep their communities’ needs at the top of lawmakers’ priority lists.

Leaders of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities say property tax increases especially hit the 80 communities they serve.

“Property tax increases are crippling our homeowners, businesses and farms, and greater Minnesota is being hit twice as hard as the metro area,” said Worthington Mayor Alan Oberloh, who just left as coalition president.

The mayor was tough on the Republican-controlled Legislature: “Citizens in greater Minnesota have had it with the Legislature focused on constitutional amendments and whatever happens to be the talk radio issue of the day.”

The new coalition president said the group also will push for economic development initiatives, such as training programs and tax credits for investing in greater Minnesota businesses.

“These programs are working in our neighboring states, and they will work here,” Cloquet Mayor Bruce Ahlgren said.

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