Editorial: Keep metro LGA, too
We've made no secret of our disdain for plans to reduce local government aid, asserting that LGA cuts would do severe harm to already-tight budgets in communities across the region.
This state aid, however, doesn't just get spread out across Greater Minnesota, though there are apparently some state lawmakers who would like to see that change. New legislation being advanced by Republicans from the Minneapolis-St. Paul suburbs would do away with LGA for the Twin Cities and Duluth. But as far removed as life in our corner of the state may be from that in a metropolitan area, state aid is as vital there as it is here.
Anyone familiar with LGA knows by know that the program helps communities maintain such essentials such as police departments, street maintenance and much more. But LGA is more than that -- it is an equalizer.
Places with lower property values, thanks to LGA, receive money. while suburban locales with higher property values pay in. Should LGA again be cut substantially or disappear outright, the rich will get richer and the poor poorer -- and Minnesota's metro areas, so critical to the entire state, could suffer exponentially.
"These are misguided political shenanigans intent on punishing three cities," Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said during a conference call last week. While Rybak's assessment is likely correct, his St. Paul mayoral counterpart, Chris Coleman, summed up the issue best in time for baseball season. "We can't have a strong team if all the players aren't strong," he said.
For the good of all of Minnesota, let's stop trying to balance the budget in a way that only exploits inequities at the ultimate expense of all of us.