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County to local legislators: Give us some relief

State Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, right, listens to Washington County Commissioner Gary Kriesel during a meeting of county and state elected officials Tuesday.1 / 2
Washington County Commissioner Autumn Lehrke of Cottage Grove listens during a meeting Tuesday of county officials and lawmakers representing Washington County.2 / 2

Washington County commissioners had a request for local lawmakers: give us some relief.

It could take four months to know whether their request is fulfilled.

Commissioners and county officials told area legislators Tuesday that the single-most important state issue affecting county government is the burden of program requirements that are not backed by state dollars. They asked that the Minnesota Legislature roll back some of the so-called "unfunded mandates" and pointed to specific examples.

The mandate issue was among several key legislative priorities discussed at a meeting of county and state officials in Oakdale.

The request is not new. Local governments long have complained of unfunded state mandates. Those complaints rarely have resulted in major changes.

Lawmakers, including Sen. Katie Sieben and Rep. John Kriesel of Cottage Grove, made no promises that the request would be met, but said the state's projected $6.2 billion budget deficit may make mandate relief more likely.

See the upcoming print edition of the South Washington County Bulletin for more on this story.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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