Mayor Rybak was on Minnesota Public Radio this morning discussing the troubling state of affairs of the giant state deficit and how Governor Pawlenty’s fiscal mismanagement has made life more difficult for Minnesota cities. Mayor Rybak pointed out a few facts that Governor Pawlenty doesn’t seem to understand or remember:
FACT: The State of Minnesota is facing a budget deficit of nearly $5 billion. Mayor Rybak’s 2009 budget for Minneapolis is balanced, as was every previous City budget he delivered.
FACT: Minneapolis sends more money to the State than the State sends to Minneapolis. The State of Minnesota collects about $74 million from Minneapolis property taxes and $390 million in sales taxes. In return, Minneapolis is slated to get $71 million in local government aid from the State.
FACT: Spending by the State has been increasing faster than spending by Minneapolis. Over the past five years State spending, adjusted for inflation, has increased 11 percent, which is 8 percent more than spending in by City of Minneapolis, which increased 3.5 percent.
FACT: Since 2002 Minneapolis has eliminated nearly $90 million in debt, reformed and restructured City government finances, and delivered City services more efficiently. This fiscal management, combined with one-time economic recovery dollars from the federal government allows the City to protect public safety in spite of State budget cuts caused by their deficit.
As Mayor Rybak has said before, Minnesota’s budget has not had the same long term fiscal stewardship as Minneapolis has had. For too long, Governor Pawlenty has used short term budget fixes and avoided making fiscally responsible choices. Today’s State fiscal crisis, like the one that happened in 2003, and one we can probably expect a few years from now, could have been partly avoided if the Governor adopted some of the long term fiscal management that has helped us restore fiscal stability to the City of Minneapolis.