Letter: Unallotment, LGA cuts were wrongI read the Fairmont Sentinel editorial this morning (Monday) in the Daily Globe and I can maybe agree with some comments but am disgusted by others.
By: Alan Oberloh, Worthington Mayor, Worthington Daily Globe
I read the Fairmont Sentinel editorial this morning (Monday) in the Daily Globe and I can maybe agree with some comments but am disgusted by others.
In my view, Gov. Pawlenty overstepped his position as the head of the executive branch of the State of Minnesota. By doing the unallotments over the past couple of years, he put himself in the position of head of the legislative branch of our state. The disgusting part of this is that he was even put in the position to have to do it; our state elected officials are so afraid of crossing their parties that we have a very stale and ineffective group in St. Paul. The decision by Rep. Rod Hamilton to vote for the people in his district, on Minnesota 60, is a very good example of why our senators and representatives tow the party line, as threats of loss of leadership posts and being stripped of the best committee assignments tend to keep our elected officials voting with their party.
I am also annoyed by the fact that our governor used aid to cities as a way of balancing the problems of the state’s loss of revenue. Local government aid was put in place to help cities with lower tax bases keep property tax increases in check. I think cities throughout Greater Minnesota realize we are all in this recovery together and would expect to contribute our fair share. However, loss of LGA and unallotment hurts small cities at a far greater level than high wealthy cities with a far greater tax base.
Greater Minnesota cities have cut back on services, spent down reserves, cut positions and continue to explore ways to do more with less. I think it is high time the state follows suit and starts cutting — I mean really starts cutting. I don’t think we need to be the state of handouts and overzealous mandates. Let’s start with a little less government and see if that saves money. Ask local governments — cities and counties — the percentage of cuts they have had in the past few years, and then ask your governor or state elected officials about what they have cut. It might surprise you.
I remember a promise that Gov. Pawlenty made when he ran in 2002. He stated very emphatically that he would preserve and protect local government aid to keep property tax increases in check. I’m sorry, but that didn’t happen quite the way he promised. LGA has been reduced greatly since 2003, and property taxes have increased an average of 67 percent over the same timeframe. To see this information for yourself, go to www.thankLGA.org.
Please do not get me wrong. I like our governor, and I wish him well as he runs for President of the United States. I might even vote for him. But, I would encourage him to not make a lot of promises they are very hard to keep. Good luck, Governor.