Minnesota Senate holds cities accountable to fund public safety budgets, provide LGA reimbursement process for mutual aid

Today, the Senate passed legislation that would hold cities accountable to pay their mutual aid agreements and prevent Governor Walz from diverting funds away from education and healthcare to cover cities’ public safety costs that defund the police.   

“I am committed to funding what it takes at a state level to keep Minnesotans safe during the upcoming Floyd trials. We are not going to bail out Minneapolis, and we are not going to take House language that ties the hands of law enforcement to respond appropriately to violence and riots to keep both themselves and their communities safe,” Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-East Gull Lake) said.  

“The Minneapolis City Council’s vote on Friday to reinstate $6.4 million to hire more cops is a welcome step in the right direction ensuring the safety of the city and its residents,” Gazelka continued. “We felt this bill was necessary since the problem presented to us was the concern from other cities not being reimbursed when taking on extraordinary duties. However, no amount of money will fix the failed response that allowed riots and violence this summer. A leadership problem can’t be solved with legislation.”   

Senator Bill Weber (R-Luverne), Chair of the Subcommittee on Property Taxes, wrote the bill to allow cities that provided mutual aid but haven’t been reimbursed for it yet to apply to have their Local Government Aid adjusted to match the amount owed. The funds would be provided by lowering the LGA from the city that owes the mutual aid payment.  

“Cities are given Local Government Aid to fund necessary functions of their government, which includes public safety,” Senator Weber explained. “While the state has a responsibility to protect the public’s safety, it is not every Minnesotan’s responsibility to pay for it when that community is actively undermining its own safeguards. The solution proposed in this bill is fair. It encourages law enforcement to be fully funded by cities and ensures that when neighboring communities answer the call that they are going to be reimbursed for their support.”