OTHER OPINION: TAXES | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

OTHER OPINION: TAXES

Who does Olson represent?

Posted: February 2, 2011 - 6:34pm

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce is out of touch with Greater Minnesota.
David Olson, the executive director of the business lobbying organization, told the Albert Lea Tribune that local business people surely would be in favor of cuts he advocates for local government aid, despite the fact that the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce opposes LGA cuts. Olson equated keeping LGA to higher taxes.
He is wrong. Cuts to LGA surely will result in more property-tax increases.
Olson perhaps didn’t realize he was speaking to readers in a city that wants to keep its fire department staffed, not switch to a volunteer-based one. To keep it staffed full-time, the city must either rely on local government aid or increase property taxes.
If the Minnesota Chamber had its way, LGA would be cut and no property taxes would be raised, leaving city officials in Greater Minnesota with little choice but to reduce services, including fire departments statewide.
LGA is a target that seems easy when sitting in St. Paul. It’s just passing the state budget woes off to outstate cities, schools and counties.
In Albert Lea, people don’t hate government, yet they are fiscally conservative. The private and public sectors have a long history of collaboration. These are all reasons why our Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce opposes cuts to LGA. It was a unanimous decision, made by the local chamber members — local business men and women.
We urge other chambers of commerce to break with the Minnesota Chamber on LGA, too.