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Sunday, August 03, 2008

LGA--Democrat Style

In a letter to the editor, Kalin’s campaign manager, Wade Vitalis, asked and answered a question and made an assertion,

What happened when they [former Republican legislatures] voted to cut local government aid (LGA) to our cities? You got it – our property taxes went up and up and up.

That was then – this is now.

The Democratic legislature has increased LGA to our cities. . . Finally – property tax relief.

Did former Republican legislatures vote to cut local government aid (LGA)? Look at the statewide totals found here on page 30 of the state document for a history from 2002 to 2007.

Cert. 2002 LGA.....Cert. 2003 LGA.....Paid 2003 LGA

Cert. 2004 LGA.....Cert. 2005 LGA.....Cert. 2006 LGA

Cert. 2007 LGA

The 2003 LGA was certified by a Dem controlled legislature, if I remember correctly. The paid 2003 LGA was greatly reduced by a Rep controlled legislature to help offset the $4.6 billion deficit inherited from the Dems.

The Republicans pulled the state back from a deficit to a reserve, which is also reflected in the 2004 and '05 numbers. This was wise stewardship. Then the Republicans increased LGA for 2006 and '07. If Vitalis wanted a fatter LGA check for cities in this time period, then the state’s financial house would have been much poorer.

So yes the Republicans cut LGA to rescue the state from the $4.6 billion deficit that the Dems helped create by overspending.

The above is for the statewide LGA figures. Click here for the LGA certified to each of the 10 cities in Chisago County between 2002 and 2007. Some cities lost and some cities gained. Click here for the history of any city during this time period.

Next Vitalis claims the 2007-2008 Democrat controlled legislature has increased LGA to the cities and thus given property tax relief. Is this true? Yes it is (see page 25 here). The total statewide LGA was raised from $484,148,487 for 2009 to $526,148,487 which is still short of the $586,848,950 LGA for 2003 certified by a Dem controlled legislature.

So how did the 10 cities of Chisago County fare under Kalin’s and the Dem’s new 2008 LGA law which provided for increased LGA statewide?

..................2008....2009 projected..2009 new law
Center City....$46,226......$42,999.........$46,226
Chisago City...$111,816.....$69,501....... $124,501
North Branch..$349,538.....$431,592.......$429,229
Rush City.......$518,419.....$562,892.......$674,075
Taylors Falls...$195,970.....$211,708........$195,970
Wyoming......$22,560....... $22,584........$0

Center City, Chisago City, Rush City and Stacy gained a combined $212,626 from the Dem’s new LGA law. All the rest of the cities lost a combined $90,533 of LGA money compared to the 2009 projections based on the old law.

This is nothing to brag about. Vitalis’ unqualified "yes" is disingenuous. Kalin and Olseen did not "bring home the bacon" for all the cities they represent. They lost for the majority of the cities in Chisago County, while gaining a total of $122,093 county-wide. For all the work the Dems did on the new LGA law, this is nothing for Kalin and Olseen to write home about.

Meanwhile, Vitalis will not be paying state aid money from his left pocketbook to his right property tax pocketbook because he did not benefit from the new LGA law. In the end, he still didn’t get relief! What a shame!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for specific detailed verification/information.

As a "famous person" said one time: "Facts are stubborn things!"

Anonymous said...

An interesting fact - the 2003 LGA cuts came at the hands of a GOP House and a GOP governor (remember the 2002 election?). Facts are stubborn things.

Along with other cuts, they resulted directly in 4 years of property tax hikes.

Elephant Herd said...

I already stated what you said so you did not add anything to advance the issue.

Four years of property tax hikes would have occurred with or without LGA because city councils set their budgets. The only question is the size of the property tax increases.

A city council sets the size of the new budget and is therefore responsible for it. A council determines the amount it will levy on its residents after it knows how much LGA it will receive under the new budget.

Besides that, what is wrong with property tax hikes? Is that a dirty word? Don't you expect some increase in taxes in a real world?

And if your increase in property tax is always offset by an equal LGA increase, in a real world, haven't you still paid for it?

The sad fact is that some people are convinced it is free if the state pays for it.