After months of controversy over the move by Minneapolis city government to take previously-allocated Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) funds, the battle has moved to the legislature. Minneapolis representatives (Phyllis Kahn, Diane Loeffler, Karen Clark, Jeff Hayden, Joe Mullery) and senators (Ken Kelash, Linda Berglin, Patricia Torres-Ray, Warren Limmer, Linda Higgins) sponsored a bill that would preserve funding through an orderly transition period.
The legislature has something to say because they originally authorized NRP in 1990, as a 20-year program funded by tax increment financing (TIF) in two phases through 2009. The money at stake now is Phase II funding. Some neighborhoods have contracted and spent most of their Phase II funding. Others have not. The neighborhoods that would be least affected by the city council decision are in Southwest Minneapolis. Those that would lose the most funding are in North Minneapolis and in poorer neighborhoods in South Minneapolis.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak sent out a letter asking people to write to their legislators in support of the city’s action, and will testify before the House committee on Thursday. Citizens Organized for Improved Neighborhoods is organizing support for the bill. Supporters say that the city council action was illegal, because they cannot take away money that the legislature designated for NRP. The hearing will be at 10:15 in Room 5 of the State Office Building.
The Senate committee has already passed the bill and sent it to the full Senate.
For more information, see previous TC Daily Planet coverage.