Bly and Dahle Detail State’s Financial Challenge

State Representative David Bly and State Senator Kevin Dahle outlined the State of Minnesota’s financial challenge at the NDDC’s Downtown Forum.  It was not a pretty picture.

The state legislature managed to balance the budget without a special session.  However, our legislators admitted that it was only through a combination of borrowing from the schools, some real cuts, and a few gimmicks and tricks.  They noted that the next legislature and governor will face a huge challenge.

One of the real cuts was Local Government Aid, or LGA.  These cuts have a substantial impact on the City of Northfield’s budget.

Although Bly and Dahle recognize that LGA cuts are not popular, they asked the attendees if they would have different priorities.  The legislators noted that 37% of the State’s budget goes to K-12 Education, 29% goes to Health Care, 10% goes to Property Tax Relief, 9% goes to Higher Education, 6% goes to Public Safety, 3% goes to Debt Service and 2% goes to General Government.  In contrast , about 30% of the City of Northfield’s budget goes to General Government.

Parks and Trails were another area of substantive cuts.  Although Bly and Dahle recognize that some people view these as less essential expenditures, they expressed their concern about the impact of these cuts on the state’s vital tourism industry.

The legislators encouraged citizens to speak up about their priorities for the state budget.  The budget balancing work is not over.