Mayors to state lawmakers: We don’t want the Twin Cities to become Detroit

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Some state and local lawmakers from suburbs that don’t receive LGA still oppose eliminating funding to the core cities.

Eagan Mayor Mike Maguire is also president of Metro Cities. As a representative of Metro Cities, he testified against elimination of LGA for Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth.

While he’s not opposed to reforming LGA, or even seeing some level of cuts, he sees the elimination of funding to the core cities as a short-sighted decision that will have dire consequences for the region.

As the budget battle in the legislature continues, what do the options mean for Minnesota cities? Four angles on the debate:
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Mayors to state lawmakers: We don’t want the Twin Cities to become Detroit

“If you’re interested in making Minnesota a job creation hub, taking LGA away from Minneapolis and St. Paul isn’t just shooting yourself in the economic development foot, it’s blowing it clean off.”

Maguire argues that the core cities are the economic engine for the region, they provide jobs for his constituents, and are a big reason global companies like Thompson Rueters, who have a campus in Eagan, decide to locate in Minnesota.

“My constituents go to Minneapolis or St. Paul not just to go to work and get a pay check, but sometimes it’s to go to a Twins Game, sometimes it’s a concert at the Orpheum or the Ordway, sometimes it’s to get world class medical care for their children at Children’s Hospital or the University of Minnesota,” said Maguire.

“And if the cities become difficult to navigate because the roads are in disrepair, or they feel unsafe because the crime rate goes up, they’ll use those services less. We don’t want the core cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul to become Minnesota’s version of Detroit,” he adds.

Rep. John Benson, DFL-Minnetonka, expressed the same concerns during the debate on the house floor. 

“While my district doesn’t benefit from this aid, the state does,” he said. “I don’t want my communities of Minnetonka or Plymouth to be… like some of the suburbs of Detroit. We don’t want the inner cities to collapse. Many of the people in our district commute to Minneapolis, and they want to make sure that they can get there safely, that they have decent roads and services that you and I and everyone else in the metro count on.”

Mayor Coleman appreciates the support from other cities about St. Paul’s contributions to the state economy.

“To us, there’s this critical partnership between the State of Minnesota and the City of St. Paul. If we’re going to continue to generate revenue for the state, we have to be healthy, we have to have a safe community, we have to have a well-educated community. We have to have the kind of place where people want to live, work and play. And LGA is critical to that,” he said.

Questions: What do you think? 

We want to hear your thoughts, whether you’re a neighbor, community organizer, local business owner, or elected official. We will report conversations in the Daily Planet for the general public and policy makers. Post your comments below, or join one of our community conversations. Come meet neighbors, get inspired, make decisions, and exchange ideas.

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April 14, 5:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.
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