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John Nephew

Maplewood City Council Policy & Politics


Breaking News (of Little Effect on Maplewood)

According to an e-mail from the League of Minnesota Cities, Governor Pawlenty in a letter to the league has "announced that he would not use unallotment to further reduce or delay the December local government aid (LGA) and market value homestead credit (MVHC) payments scheduled for cities and counties."

This is good news for Minnesota cities in general. However, it appears not to make a difference for Maplewood. The governor's decision to reduce LGA/MVHC by $64 million back in June, which this announcement does not undo, already took away all of our MVHC. Further reductions to December payments, that were expected as a response the increased state deficit announced last week, could not have come at Maplewood's expense because we were already at $0.

The governor is not rolling back the 2009 and 2010 cuts that were already determined earlier this year (which would increase the state's deficit even more) -- he's just decided not to cut even further for now. He makes no such guarantee for 2010 -- though again, since our 2010 payments are already at $0, it makes no difference to Maplewood. For some of our neighbors who get LGA or MVHC even after this summer's cuts, this is good news, but it won't put any money back in Maplewood's coffers, this year or next.

Nonetheless, Councilmember Erik Hjelle, showing off both his typically poor reading comprehension and his habitual disregard for the Open Meeting Law, dashed off an e-mail to the entire city council as soon as he (mis-)heard the news, saying he "cannot wait to see how you liberals spend this" and that we should "give the money BACK to the taxpayers." Rushing to judgement and insults based on his own misunderstanding is vintage Erik, something I'm sure we'll all miss in a few weeks when Jim Llanas replaces him on the council.

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