Cities across Minnesota are taking their pleas for state aid to the people: they’ve launched a public relations campaign that says proposed budget cuts would cost police, fire and library jobs, says Don Davis of Forum Communications.
A website has been set up by the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, and leaders plan a statewide media tour to promote local government aid.
“Less services and more property taxes” is how Wadena Mayor Wayne Wolden termed results of Pawlenty’s proposed cuts, a common refrain in recent weeks among city leaders.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s response: irritation at the call for smaller — or no — aid cuts. He turned the tables on them, saying they pay too much for lobbyists in the state Capitol.
“The first thing I would suggest that cities and counties do to save money in the budget is to fire their lobbyists to create space in their budget so they can save more police and fire personnel in their cities,” Pawlenty said. “The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities is a big, expensive lobbying organization and the dues that are going into that organization to pay their lobbyists come from the city budgets, which in turn come from the taxpayers.
“So I would propose that all cities fire their lobbyists and dismantle the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities and put more fire and policemen on the streets.”