State aid needed for many cities

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 8, 2003

Gov. Tim Pawlenty is correct in saying that Greater Minnesota needs additional tax base, job growth and economic opportunities to ensure the health of its communities.

But in his contention that giving state aid to Greater Minnesota cities will not solve the problem is a flawed one. While state aid may not be the only solution, without it, Greater Minnesota communities will be that much worse off.

In terms of business development, Greater Minnesota cities, many times, fall through the cracks. Minnesota is a high-tax, high-regulation state. The benefits the Twin Cities provide offset such disadvantages. However, Greater Minnesota communities lack the big-city advantages, but still have the high taxes and regulations. No question, a business interested in locating out here more often than not finds the cost of doing business cheaper in North or South Dakota, Wisconsin or Iowa.

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Only by receiving state aid can Greater Minnesota city governments compete, by ensuring a high quality of living in their communities, and by creating economic development programs to lure new businesses in, and convince existing businesses to both stay here and expand.

No question, Pawlenty would like to see a decrease in taxes. However, a $4.6 billion deficit eliminates the Legislature's option to decrease taxes this year. Taking away state aid to cities and counties in this area to solve the deficit because the money "isn't solving the problem" is like pouring water on the fire.