With the dust from the recent election beginning to settle, members of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC) gathered in Alexandria last week to evaluate the results and their potential impact on Greater Minnesota priorities at the legislature in 2023.
The City of Glenwood is a member of the CGMC.
Much of the discussion revolved around the DFL securing a “trifecta,” winning both chambers of the legislature and the Governor’s office, and what it could mean given the predominance of metro-based legislators amongst their ranks.
Assuming recounts in two close races in rural Minnesota do not change the outcome, both DFL legislative caucuses will be starting session with very few Greater Minnesota legislators. Fewer legislators in the majority caucus translates to potentially fewer well-positioned champions for Greater Minnesota priorities.
All other conversations filtered through this lens as more than 100 city officials from throughout Greater Minnesota discussed their critical needs for the 2023 legislative session. During the event, the group set its legislative priorities for the upcoming year, including a $102 million increase in Local Government Aid (LGA), investments in child care and workforce housing, and funding for water and wastewater infrastructure.
“This legislative session is going to be a true test of the ‘One Minnesota’ mantra,” said Brian Holmer, Mayor of Thief River Falls and President of the CGMC. “As we raise Greater Minnesota needs and concerns at the legislature, we’ll be watching very carefully how responsive the governor and legislative majorities are to our communities.”
City leaders from Greater Minnesota are also calling on Gov. Tim Walz and legislators to make up for the failures of the last legislative session and allocate the state’s budget surplus to help address the needs of rural Minnesota. Lawmakers’ inability to pass a bonding bill last session — paired with rising inflation — has resulted in a significant economic burden on cities, stifling the ability of communities to make adequate progress in combating urgent issues in their region.
“The inability of the legislature to pass meaningful spending bills or a bonding bill in 2022 has exacerbated critical needs in Greater Minnesota,” said CGMC Executive Director Bradley Peterson. “Inflation has increased the cost of vital services and infrastructure in our communities, and with a significant budget surplus, the state can afford to invest in projects and initiatives that help our communities thrive.”
“We all need safe roads, clean water, and effective public safety. These are issues that matter to all Minnesotans, not just Red or Blue,” said Holmer. “There is plenty of common ground to be found if our state lawmakers are willing to factor us in.”
As the CGMC prepares for the upcoming legislative session, Greater Minnesota city leaders are looking to the state’s policymakers to pass impactful legislation and make meaningful investments to help communities across the state. (The City of Glenwood is a member of the CGMC.)
The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization representing more than 100 cities outside of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The Coalition educates legislators about issues important to Greater Minnesota. Visit the CGMC online at greatermncities.org and on Twitter @greatermncities.