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Cities push for state aid hike

The Coalition of Greater Minnesota cities is pushing hard for an increase to Local Government Aid, which transfers money from the state to some Minnesota cities.

Detroit Lakes would see an additional $51,000 in LGA under House File 685, which boosts LGA payments statewide.

Perham would see an additional $48,000, Park Rapids an extra $42,000, Frazee another $30,00, Lake Park an additional $14,000, Audubon another $12,000, Callaway an extra $4,000, Ogema another $3,500 and Vergas an extra $2,000 under the bill. 

The Minnesota Legislature is on Easter Break from March 25 through March 28, and most legislators will be back home in their districts.

“As action is happening extremely fast during this short legislative session,” the Coalition of Greater Minnesota cities is advising its members that “now is a key time to contact or meet with your legislator to stress the importance of including a $45.5 million increase in LGA funding as part of the final tax bill AND to include $167 million for clean water funding and $21 million for the Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure grant program in the bonding bill.”

Coalition members in this region include Detroit Lakes, Perham, Park Rapids, Pelican Rapids and Fergus Falls.

The coalition’s top priority is an increase in funding for LGA. The state Senate and Gov. Mark Dayton have both proposed an increase (the Senate supports the $45.5 million increase that the CGMC is seeking, while the governor included a one-time increase of $21.5 million in his supplemental budget).

But the Minnesota House has not changed its position in support of an $84 million cut to the LGA program that targets the cities of Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth, and a freeze in the LGA appropriation for all other cities.

Another key priority this session for the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities is bonding.

The CGMC is advocating for $167 million for clean water infrastructure grant and loan programs and $21 million for the Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure program, both of which were included in the governor’s proposed bonding bill.

The BDPI matching grant program helps cities and counties in Greater Minnesota prepare the public infrastructure needed for industrial development.

Since its launch in 2003, the BDPI program has awarded 180 grants, creating or preserving more than 9,700 jobs in Greater Minnesota communities of all sizes.

The governor’s proposed $21 million for BDPI in the bonding bill provides a chance to invest in industrial growth all across the state.

The House and Senate have yet to release their versions of the bonding bill.

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