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Woodbury stands to lose under GOP budget plan

A lobbying group for Minnesota cities reports Woodbury would see nearly $800,000 less from the state under a GOP budget proposal.

The city stands to lose $795,868 in market value homestead credit funding, according to the League of Minnesota Cities.

Woodbury City Administrator Clint Gridley said city estimates put that figure closer to $883,360.

Republicans who control the Legislature announced they want Gov. Mark Dayton's administration to trim $200 million from the budget that ends June 30 and cut another $840 million from proposed spending in the two-year budget that begins the next day.

Tuesday's Republican bill introduction was the first of several budget-balancing measures, with larger budget cuts coming later.

Dayton did not like the way Republicans are going about the budget-balancing situation.

"I will not agree to piecemeal cuts and partial solutions eliminating the $6.2 billion deficit in the next biennium," Dayton said. "I will propose a reasonable, balanced and complete budget solution on Feb. 15, and I ask the Legislature to do the same thereafter, with citizen participation through hearings and very careful consideration of the effects of their decisions on people's lives."

The Republican proposal for 2012-13's budget would extend then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty's budget cuts, known as unallotment, to find the $840 million in savings.

Hardest hit in the next budget under the GOP plan would be state payments to local governments, such as Local Government Aid. The bill reduces those payments $460 million from that expected in the two-year budget beginning July 1.

The proposal includes slashing the state's market value homestead credit payments. The credits go toward property owners, but are first distributed to cities for disbursement.

Gridley said he's in favor of the state scrapping the market value homestead credit reimbursement process.

The state "should either eliminate it or direct any homestead credits directly to the property tax payer," he said. "Don't run it through the municipality."

According to city data, Woodbury has only received homestead credits twice from the state since 2003. In 2007 the city received its full amount - about $650,000 - and about half of its allotted amount the following year.

Chairwoman Mary Liz Holberg of the House Ways and Means Committee said the Legislature will reform Local Government Aid so cities that really need the aid still receive it.