Minnesota cities will receive local government aid, after all.
Two days after Minneapolis approved legal action to obtain the funding, Chief Ramsey County District Court Judge Kathleen Gearin ordered Wednesday that appropriations like LGA will be dispersed in the event of a state government shutdown.
A partial shutdown will begin if state lawmakers and Gov. Mark Dayton cannot finalize a budget by midnight on Thursday.
Local government aid helps pay for basic services like police and firefighters along with property taxes. LGA, which cities receive twice a year from the state, is used to help keep those taxes down.
The city is scheduled to receive half of this year’s payment, or $44 million, in late-July.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said Wednesday he agrees with the judge’s decision, but the debate should now turn to whether the budget that’s eventually passed contains the severe cuts to LGA originally proposed.
In recent months, Rybak and other Minnesotan mayors have been vocal in their opposition to the legislature’s proposed cuts to LGA across Minnesota by 26 percent.
“I’ll keep making my case,” Rybak said.
LGA and other small state aid accounts for 22 percent of the state’s city’s revenue this year.
Neither Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson nor Gov. Mark Dayton included LGA payments in their lists of services that should continue in the event of a shutdown.
The League of Minnesota Cities previously argued that standing appropriations, because they are written in state statute, should be paid on time.