Rybak Releases 2012 Budget Proposal

Nick Sudheimer

Yesterday Mayor R.T. Rybak released his 2012 budget proposal.  While the proposal is not an official budget document it does outline several policies that will likely be implemented in the budget:

  • No increase in property taxes
  • $57 million increase in street paving over 5 years, which will be borrowed. This comes in addition to $93 million that the city has already set aside for street paving
  • A new focus on reducing minority unemployment through “green jobs”
  • Capital spending for tax base development, especially along the Central Corridor light rail

For the first time in Rybak’s nearly 10 years in office, property taxes will not be raised.  City Councilmember Cam Gordon said that while he is open to the idea of not raising property taxes, he does wonder what will be sacrificed to compensate for the loss in revenue. Rybak’s proposal acknowledges that this will result in the loss of 90 city jobs, which jobs will be cut has not yet been specified.  Firefighter and police officers will not be laid off.

Rybak’s budget calls for $57 million to be borrowed to repair badly damaged roads.  Rybak said that since Minneapolis has recently restored its AAA credit rating, it has more flexibility to borrow.  The majority of repairs will be done along major roads however some side streets will be repaired as well.

A recent study revealed that while Minneapolis currently has a lower unemployment rate than that of the national average, the disparity between african-americans who are unemployed compared to unemployed whites is one of the highest in the nation.  Gordon believes that this will likely result in the city trying to more heavily recruit green companies.

The mayor’s budget proposal also calls for more tax base development.  Gordon believes this will result in the city more aggressively purchasing land along the Central Corridor Light Rail in order to have more control over future development.

A meeting will be held by the city’s Board of Estimate and Taxation on the proposed levy on Tuesday at 5:05 p.m. in Room 317 of City Hall.