The MLC was established in 1984 to provide a voice at the Capitol for a group of suburban communities who shared common demographic, economic, and tax base characteristics. These suburban cities believed their unique interests were not being represented. As a result, Jim Miller (Minnetonka City Manager, 1980-1993) led an effort to establish a suburban lobbying coalition, which became known as the “Municipal Legislative Commission” (MLC).
The MLC began with 14 cities and focused on addressing state legislative issues, particularly those directed at the MLC’s suburban communities. However, as time passed, the MLC expanded its focus beyond defending its own interests and began advocating sound public policy and promoting transparency in local government.
The MLC continued to develop as an association and currently has 19 member cities. The association became a forum for city managers and mayors to promote best practices, enhance accountability, and find solutions to challenging issues around tax policy, economic development, as well as improving customer service to local residents.
MLC's Guiding Principles:
In order to promote accountability, local government finance should demonstrate a strong relationship between taxes paid and benefits received.
Unfunded state mandates, levy limits, property tax freeze and reverse referenda significantly limit the predictability necessary for local governments to plan with financial confidence.
Cities characterized with high property values are not universally populated with high-income residents. Our city populations are not only culturally diverse, but include growing numbers of retirees on fixed incomes, single parents, and apartment dwellers. Policies that ignore such diversity are not equitable.
Any tax reform creates burden shifts on individual taxpayers and potential revenue shortfalls for communities and should be recognized and addressed by the State in order to maintain the stability of our local communities.
Our communities share a common philosophy with respect to the relationship between the state and local units of government.
We believe that sound public policy should:
Strive to promote greater stability and predictability in the fiscal relationship between the state and local units of government.
Provide public services by the level of government closest to those affected.
Create a state system by which city services are financed in an equitable, accountable and straight-forward manner.
Our communities pledge their support of a comprehensive approach to addressing ongoing challenges. In order to succeed in these endeavors, local governments must provide effective tools and the flexibility to use them without unfunded mandates from other units of government.