Figures released today by Gov. Tim Pawlenty show Northfield’s anticipated Dec. 26 aid payment will be $356,000 short of what city leaders expected… The governor’s decision reduces the amount Northfield will receive next week by a little more than 4 percent — from $1.56 million to $1.21 million. It’s unclear how the city will deal with the unallotment. The city is required by law to balance its annual budget.
Today’s editorial in the Nfld News: Gov. Pawlenty, give back our money
Taxpayers are not legally allowed to tell the state that they didn’t make enough money this year to pay their taxes, so why should the governor be allowed to use essentially the same argument? … And while they’re at it, perhaps legislators should consider ending the governor’s authority to unilaterally take money away from our communities through unallotment.
Sen. Kevin Dahle blogged about the impending LGA cuts earlier this week:
If the Governor is set on using LGA to fill that gap, I hope he makes proportional cuts that will allow cities and counties to still receive badly needed checks this December instead of a blindsided approach that leaves our local governments reeling.
Seems to me that Pawlenty handled it reasonably well, especially in his sparing small towns and small counties from the short-term LGA axe… as well as military, veterans, K-12 education, and public safety (press release). I saw Northfield resident and Minnesota Association of School Administrators (MASA) Executive Director (and blogger) Charlie Kyte at GBM this morning and he agreed.
Besides, we’re not in such bad shape here in Northfield. City Finance Director Kathleen McBride commented here on Locally Grown back in early Dec when I asked her about City’s vulnerability to further cuts:
We have already received notice of our 2009 state aid amounts. The dilemma is what the potential cuts could be and when they would be made. It is possible that the governor – and the legislature could “un-allot” 2009 aid in 2009. This would cause local governments to have to make mid-year budget reductions.
The City does have a $722,000 “revenue stabilization” reserve for this very purpose. This at least allows us some wiggle room should the cuts occur suddenly.
Rep. David Bly blogged about the State’s BIG budget problem earlier this month. He alerted me to it via email:
In my most recent post I talked a bit about the budget crunch we are facing at the State level, I encourage constituents to weigh in on suggestions for the resolving the budget problem. It occurred to me that Locally Grown might be a place to generate some discussion. I do genuinely want to hear ideas from those who are interested in offering them. The $5.2 billion short fall will not be made up by using one approach or by a simplistic solution and the more ideas we have to work with the better.
Sen. Dahle makes a similar plea in his Thursday blog post.
We’re planning to have both Rep. Bly and Sen. Dahle on our radio show/podcast in the next two weeks, so now’s a good time to start the discussion.
How would you balance the State’s short- and long term budget problem?