LGA Study Group Sends Recommendations to Legislature
The group's recommendations include examining several factors in the LGA formula to make sure they are still relevant and up to date. (Published Jan 7, 2013)
At its final meeting in mid-December, the legislative Local Government Aid (LGA) Study Group voted to approve a letter summarizing its work and listing several recommendations. The group’s chairs, Rep. Linda Runbeck (R-Circle Pines) and Sen. Roger Chamberlain (R-Lino Lakes), sent the letter to the new House Speaker and the new Senate Majority Leader.
The group’s recommendations are:
Examine current special appropriations outside of the formula for continued relevance. There are 19 special permanent appropriations for certain cities since 1995. If these are no longer appropriate and necessary, they should be eliminated. Remaining special appropriations and new special appropriations should have sunset dates to ensure periodic review. This will help make the program simpler and more equitable.
Current data used in the formula should be examined for stability over time and either be averaged over time or be replaced with other factors if the data is too volatile.
Similarly, updating need factors, such as the age of housing stock or jobs aid, should be closely examined prior to making any changes in the formula.
The caps on maximum annual aid increases or decreases to individual cities should be examined to better (1) increase the simplicity of the formula, (2) increase equity of payments between cities, and (3) reduce the impact of levy decisions on future aid changes.
Any changes to the aid formula should take into account how service needs and available revenue sources differ between cities.
The program appropriation should be stabilized so cities are able to rely on the amount certified to them.
Any changes made to the formula should increase its stability and transparency and discourage factor manipulation.