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Letter to the editor: House funding plans negatively impact local communities

The actions of the Legislature have a direct effect on our communities. We are specifically concerned about two proposals from the Minnesota House of Representatives that have negative impacts on our cities and property taxes.

The House tax bill, which was supported by both of our local House members, has a zero increase in Local Government Aid or County Program Aid. This is unacceptable when the state has a $1.65 billion surplus and they shift spending to local governments, but won't cover the true costs. The funding received from the state is used to pay for services provided by local governments. No increase in state funding to offset the inflationary costs of services and the population growth in our communities is a cut. Property taxes are the only way local governments have to make up the difference. Again, we urge our state representatives to fund Local Government Aid and County Program Aid.

The House transportation bill, which was supported by both of our local House members, would have devastating effects on our already limited access to bus service. The proposal would cause a 40 percent decrease in bus service to our area. As we talk with businesses in the area, they are supportive of additional transit options to get employees to work. Each day thousands of Washington County residents leave the county to go to work. We need to help our business community be able to recruit top talent to our communities. The proposed cuts to Metro Mobility are drastic and will disproportionately affect our seniors and those with disabilities. Many of the senior living facilities are expanding to meet the needs of our seniors in the community, and additional transit options for our seniors are a part of those needs. Again, it is unwise to make such cuts when the state has a $1.65 billion surplus.

We stand willing to work with our state partners to meet the needs of our communities.

Cottage Grove Mayor Myron Bailey, Newport Mayor Dan Lund, St. Paul Park Mayor Sandi Dingle, Washington County Commissioner Karla Bigham

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