December 2, 2012 – Ten years into an era of reduced state aid, many metro cities have trimmed down, wised up and stopped expecting any of the funding that used to help them pay for plowing, police, parks and other services. The regrouping is remarkable given the sky-is-falling reaction when the cuts to local government aid (LGA) first hit in 2003 to help close a state budget gap. In the years since, cities spent reserves, raised property taxes, cut services and reduced staff to make ends meet and become less dependent on aid from St. Paul. As they prepare this month to certify 2013 budgets, more than 60 percent of metro cities have stopped getting LGA entirely, and others have stopped counting on it for operating cash.
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