Governor proposes $29 million cut in aid to City

On Feb. 16, Governor Tim Pawlenty released his proposal to close a $1.2 billion deficit in the state’s budget. His proposal includes about $250 million in cuts to communities throughout the state.

Governor Pawlentys proposal would take an additional $29 million out of Minneapolis’ 2010 budget. Last year, the governor cut funding to Minneapolis’ 2010 budget by $21 million, but the $29 million cut that he proposed Feb. 16 comes on top of that. Combined, those $50 million in cuts represent a 56 percent cut in the Local Government Aid that Minneapolis was supposed to receive from the State in 2010.

To put the governor’s proposed cut in context. If the City would:

In other words, entirely eliminating all of these services would still fall short of covering the $29 million cut proposed by Gov. Pawlenty.

Strong Priorities, Innovative Solutions

Since 2003, Local Government Aid to the City of Minneapolis has been reduced by more than $300 million, yet the City has never waivered from making public safety its number one priority and has worked tirelessly to find new and innovative ways to provide core city services. However, the governor’s current proposal would be extremely damaging to the City, and comes at a time when City leaders have already been cutting our services to the bone.

Even in these tough economic times, City leaders have taken significant steps to streamline City services, find efficiencies and eliminate more than $116 million in debt. Minneapolis has successfully practiced long-term financial management in an era of diminishing resources but the City is now at the point where any additional cuts in aid would need to come at the expense of core City services, like law enforcement and road maintenance.

At this point City leaders do not know how the State Legislature will approach the governor’s proposal to fix the Minnesota’s budget crisis and what cuts the City of Minneapolis may actually realize. However, it is important to act quickly to minimize the impact later on.

For this reason, Mayor R.T. Rybak’s office has begun work to develop a proposal to the City Council for a supplemental 2010 budget. This process is at its earliest stages.

In the coming weeks, the City will be posting more information on this site about the supplemental 2010 budget and how cuts could impact core city services.

Published Feb. 18, 2010