Mayors push for reform on property taxes, economic development, LGACiting rising property taxes, urgent economic development needs and the continued erosion of Local Government Aid funding, city officials from across Greater Minnesota pledged that their communities concerns need to be at top of the legislature’s agenda in 2013.
Citing rising property taxes, urgent economic development needs and the continued erosion of Local Government Aid funding, city officials from across Greater Minnesota pledged that their communities concerns need to be at top of the legislature’s agenda in 2013.
The city officials met in Owatonna, for the annual summer conference of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC), a group of 80 communities that work together to advocate on behalf of Greater Minnesota.
“Property tax increases are crippling our homeowners, businesses, and farms, and Greater Minnesota is being hit twice as hard as the metro area,” said outgoing CGMC President and Mayor of Worthington Alan Oberloh, who cited a CGMC property tax analysis that showed the increase in total property tax from 2011 hit Greater Minnesota cities 6.6 percent, compared to 2.6 percent in the metro.
“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. Families and businesses are hurting, and it is about time for the legislature to roll up their sleeves and focus on the issues that people care about in Warroad, Willmar and Worthington,” said Oberloh.
In addition to their commitment to LGA funding and lowering property taxes, in 2013 the Coalition will be advocating for a number of economic development initiatives, including a Greater Minnesota Internship Program, a new employee job training program, and expanding the Angel Investment Tax Credit in Greater Minnesota.
“These programs are working in our neighboring states, and they will work here.” said incoming CGMC President and Mayor of Cloquet Bruce Ahlgren. “If Greater Minnesota legislators speak with one voice, we can get some traction behind these initiatives and get them passed. These are tools that will help our local small businesses, and that is why we are going to push hard for them.”
The mayors said they will be meeting with legislators, candidates for the legislature, and community leaders throughout the late summer and fall to build momentum for this legislative agenda.
“We are simply not going to sit by and hope that the legislature will focus on these issues. We are going to speak up, speak out and speak loudly; it is long overdue that we have a legislative session focused on Greater Minnesota priorities,” said Ahlgren.