Today, Governor Mark Dayton announced that he has asked a group of Minnesota Mayors to advise the administration in their efforts on tax reform. The Tax Reform Advisory Group for Local Government Aid (LGA) will review and discuss policy issues related to Local Government Aid, specifically on how to best pay for local services while holding local property taxes down. The work of this advisory group will directly support Governor Dayton's comprehensive tax reform proposal, which will be presented to the 2013 legislature.
"The legislature's continuing cuts to LGA have increased the financial pressures on local governments throughout Minnesota. I look to this group of distinguished Mayors to advise us on whether LGA should be revised, or simply funded," said Governor Mark Dayton.
The amount of LGA distributed to Minnesota cities is approximately half of what it was a decade ago, which has hurt cities' ability to provide critical services like police, fire, snow plowing and street maintenance. Legislative decisions to reduce local aid has also resulted in the state shifting budget deficit problems onto local governments, forcing them to reduce their budgets and increase local property taxes - the most regressive and unfair of all state and local taxes.
"Property taxes in Minnesota have risen dramatically in the past decade across our state, in communities large and small. I'm looking forward to working with this great group of mayors to recommend long-term solutions for a fairer tax system and a sustainable state-local partnership for every part of Minnesota," said Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, Co-Chair of the Advisory Group.
"As the Mayor of a regional center with high demand for services, I'm excited to help develop a long-term, innovative and fair solution for property taxes. Temporary fixes aren't working and Minnesotans deserve a thoughtful, strategic approach to our entire tax system," said St. Cloud Mayor and Advisory Group Co-Chair Dave Kleis.
Governor Dayton is pleased to announce the advisory group members:
Mayor R.T. Rybak, City of Minneapolis (Co-Chair)
Mayor Dave Kleis, City of St. Cloud (Co-Chair)
Mayor Bruce Ahlgren, City of Cloquet
Mayor Dave Bartholomay, City of Circle Pines
Mayor Beth Baumann, City of South St. Paul
Mayor ReNae Bowman, City of Crystal
Mayor Ardell Brede, City of Rochester
Mayor Chris Coleman, City of St. Paul
Mayor Debbie Goettel, City of Richfield
Mayor Don Ness, City of Duluth
Mayor Joyce Nyhus, City of Buffalo Lake
Mayor Alan Oberloh, City of Worthington
Mayor Marlene Prospeck, City of Hoyt Lakes
Mayor Mary Rossing, City of Northfield
Mayor Dave Smiglewski, City of Granite Falls
The group will meet periodically throughout 2012. The Department of Revenue will provide support for the group.