Bills Seek to Restore LGA to 2002 Level

Local government aid funding would be increased to $565 million under the bills.
(Published Feb 11, 2019)

Two bills that would provide a $30 million increase in local government aid (LGA) funding have been introduced in the Senate. This would restore LGA to the 2002 level, which the League supports.

SF 523 (Sen. Kari Dziedzic, DFL-Minneapolis), would increase the LGA appropriation by roughly $30 million beginning with the distribution in 2020. It is co-authored by Sens. Bill Weber (R-Luverne), Ann Rest (DFL-New Hope), David Tomassoni (DFL-Chisholm), and John Jasinski (R-Faribault).

SF 986, which grew out of conversations with House Taxes Chair Paul Marquart (DFL-Dilworth), the League, and the Association of Minnesota Counties, was introduced on Feb. 7 by Sen. Gary Dahms (R-Redwood Falls). It would similarly restore LGA funding and would also restore funding for county program aid (CPA).

SF 986 is co-authored by Sens. Dziedzic, Jeremy Miller (R-Winona), Karla Bigham (DFL-Cottage Grove), and Dave Senjem (R-Rochester).

The House companion to SF 986 will be authored by Rep. Marquart and co-authored by former House Taxes Chair and lead Taxes Committee Republican, Greg Davids (R-Preston) and more than a dozen co-authors. It is expected to be introduced this week.

Recovering from post-9/11 cuts

Under current law, LGA will distribute $534 million to cities in 2019. CPA, which is a similar program providing counties with general purpose revenues, is funded at $234 million.

Funding for both programs was severely reduced in the recession that followed the 9/11 attacks in 2001. The restoration of each program to the pre-9/11 recession funding level would require approximately a $30 million increase in the appropriation for each program.

Although the League has no position on the CPA portion of the bill, the restoration of the LGA appropriation included in the bill is consistent with the League’s legislative policies.

Support from state leaders

In addition to an array of supporting legislators, these bills have drawn a positive response from Department of Revenue Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly. Gov. Tim Walz has also publicly indicated his support to restore funding for local units of government, including cities. His budget recommendations will be released by Feb. 19 and are also expected to include funding for LGA and CPA.

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