The chairs of the Minnesota House and Senate tax committees are working on legislation that cuts aid to local governments by approximately $105 million — far less than the $250 million proposed last month by GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
“It is a sad day for us,” Rep. Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington said this afternoon at a Capitol press briefing. “It’s not something we relish doing, but we have a responsibility to do this fairly and strategically.”
Last month, Pawlenty released a 2010 supplemental budget that included $250 million in proposed cuts in aid to local units of government — a plan that was immediately criticized by the Legislature’s DFL leaders as too drastic.
Sen. Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, who chairs the Senate Taxes Committee, said then that his committee was aiming for a package that limited the cuts to about $100 million.
And Lenczewski told PIM after the governor’s announcement that she expected her committee’s target number for local aid cuts to land somewhere “between the governor’s and the Senate’s in size,” noting that “we all know the Senate is more liberal than the House.”
The most unusual thing about today’s announcement from Bakk and Lenczewski is that it’s rare for the tax committees to find themselves on the same page. A senior DFL staffer told PIM before today’s news conference that Lenczewski is following the wishes of the DFL leadership on the proposed cuts.
“We won’t say we’ll have identical bills, but they’ll be close,” Lenczewski said.
It will be up to local units of government — cities and counties — to decide how to make up the cuts, Bakk and Lenczewski said. However, since property tax levies have been set for 2010, there will be no change in property taxes at least until next year.
Lenczewski’s committee released documents later this afternoon that laid out the proposal (all PDFs):
- A comparison of state aid and credit reductions for 2010
- A comparison of state aid and credit reductions for 2011-12
- A comparison of the 2010 city cuts under Pawlenty’s proposal and the House proposal
- A comparison of the governor’s revised budget vs. the House Taxes Committee bill
- A House fiscal analysis of the House proposal