On the proposed changes to Minnesota Local Government Aid


There is a “bipartisan” effort afoot to deal with some issues regarding Local Government Aid in Minnesota.

The proposed simplification of the Local Government Aid (LGA) distribution formula is supported by leaders in the Twin Cities metropolitan area and in rural Minnesota. Rep. Ben Lien, DFL-Moorhead, is the bill’s chief author. Lien said cities of all sizes are backing the proposal because it would make LGA more predictable from year to year by factoring in inflation…

The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities said the bill ensures that more money goes to the communities with the greatest needs for property tax relief.

Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, said he signed on as a co-author to the bill because he believes it will begin a much needed debate.


Whenever the name of somebody like Greg Davids appears on proposed legislation, my bulls**t sensors peak. Probably, though, even politicians as atavistic as him are beginning to realize that, given demographic reality, especially regarding the overall intellectual level of the electorate, brick-wall conservatism isn’t going to cut it any more for politicians that wish to keep getting elected for much longer, in any but the most scarlet of districts.

The practice of sending some tax money collected from the middle class and poor back to the communities in which they reside was devastated during the reign of the worst governor in Minnesota’s history, Tim Pawlenty. Like any “good” Republican, he believed that the only proper use of government revenue was to funnel it, as tax-cut handouts or whatever, to the rich people that, not coincidentally, funded his political ambitions.

From August 2010:

The principle culprit behind statewide property tax increases since 2002 is the reduction in revenue the state shares with local governments. In constant 2010 dollars, state aid to local governments has fallen by $2.6 billion since 2002. In response, local governments have increased property taxes by $1.7 billion. However, property tax increases weren’t enough to replace lost state aid; therefore, total revenue of Minnesota local governments fell. In fact since 2002, local government revenues have fallen much more rapidly than state government revenues.

(MN 2020)

Really undoing the damage caused by Pawlenty and Republican legislators is going to take a lot more than this. But, how does that saying go, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” (Actually, a better translation is “A journey of a thousand miles starts under one’s feet” – Tao Te Ching 64.)