Via Thank LGA and Minnesota 2020 we come across an editorial in the Mankato Free Press about Tim Pawlenty and his allies’ cuts to local government aid, and how they endanger communities in greater Minnesota. From the editorial:
Reinstatement of state aid doesn’t seem likely anytime soon, so small communities will be forced to raise taxes or cut services to levels that may be OK to some, but that may also deter growth, both residential and commercial…
That would create an entirely different outstate Minnesota, an entirely different small-town Minnesota. There is likely to develop, under this scenario, a mishmash of fees and costs uneven across cities in Minnesota. It will create a tax and fee structure that will be less understandable, and less accountable for businesses and residents.
On our Make Minnesota Thrive Drive, we talked with Wayne Wolden, the mayor of Wadena, and he echoed the words in the editorial. The cuts to LGA are pushing city budgets to the brink, and communities like Wadena are left with little choice than to levy regressive fees. Instead of making the tough choices, and showing the leadership that our state needs right now, Tim Pawlenty–with the help of those who sustained his veto of a balanced budget–shifted the choices to communties like Wadena that do not have all of the tools needed to make these decisions in a fair way.
The small towns throughout the state, like Wadena, are a big reason why our state has thrived through previous recessions. If the reckless budget decisions of the past several years continue we may be seeing a shift away from all cities having the basic services that we all use and love, to only those with people wealthy enough to pay higher property taxes and fees being able to afford them.
If you’re in outstate Minnesota and you’re feeling the effects of drastic budget cuts, head over to the Thrive Drive website and share your story.