Tax bill would cut aid to major cities

Mar 19, 2011 | Posted by: roboblogger | Full story: Star Tribune

Minnesota House Taxes Committee members on Saturday passed a comprehensive tax bill that would dramatically slash state aid for Minneapolis, St.

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LGA Larry

Minneapolis, MN

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#1
Mar 20, 2011
 

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Phase out of Local Government Aid.

There are at least two good reasons. One is that it expands overall government spending beyond what people would otherwise rationally pay. The other reason, and it's related to the first, is that it reduces the accountability of local officials, who can say to residents "Look at all the good things we're doing for you," while having their decisions subsidized by someone else.

A similar logic applies when the U.S. government transfers money from one state to another for simply local projects. Further, it diminishes the political significance of states as entities with their own, unique powers (Tenth Amendment, anyone?), and puts us further down the road to the day when states are merely administrative units of a national government.

Political decentralization has many benefits, including offering a safety valve.(How high would Minnesota taxes be if legislators didn't have to keep in mind the more favorable tax climates of South Dakota, Texas, Florida and so forth?)

I understand why local officials would seek federal grants. To paraphrase an advertising slogan used by state lotteries everywhere, "Someone's going to win; why not you?" But when we win, we also lose.





Sandy

Lombard, IL

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Mar 20, 2011
 

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Is allowing the government to transfer money from one group to another group really wrong?

Asside from kickbacks, bribes, corruption, politics, loss of accountability and waste, what could possibly be wrong with that?
LGA Larry

Minneapolis, MN

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Mar 20, 2011
 

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LGA benefits to smaller Minnesota cities are distributed based upon an antiquated formula that, no kidding, is based upon factors including "population decline, age of housing stock, household size and number of vehicular accidents". I've yet to meet a legislator at the Capitol who can fully explain how or why this formula is justified in the modern era.
In fact, I've yet to meet a legislator who can adequately explain the formula at all. This is especially troubling considering how property taxes continue to rise in most communities. In addition, there is little or no oversight as to how cities use their LGA funds. Many communities spend a sizable portion of their state aid not on basic city services such as police, fire and water but instead subsidize questionable expenditures like municipal water parks, liquor stores, and Wi-Fi networks– all services best provided by businesses easily found in the Yellow Pages.
Before the 763 LGA-dependent mayors descend upon St. Paul with hat in hand, taxpayers deserve greater accountability as to how they have been spending your tax dollars. Better yet – why not abolish Local Government Aid and the costly state mandates that accompany this local government welfare.
That would allow each community to tax and spend according to their true needs and priorities rather than this antiquated formula that was devised by a legislature from a different era.
Vikings Fan

Rochester, MN

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Mar 21, 2011
 

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Stop LGA now! All cities regardless of size should not receive LGA. The state, counties, and cities all need to adjust to balanced budgets now.

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