(St. Paul, MN) — A group representing communities outside the metro area is pushing the legislature for an increase in local government aid to fund police, fire departments, libraries, infrastructure and other needs.  Bradley Peterson with the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities says, “with the surplus as big as it is, there is absolutely no reason that the state can’t make these kinds of investments to keep local communities strong.”  Peterson says preliminary property tax levies are higher, largely driven by inflation.  Governor Tim Walz says he’ll advocate in his budget for increased state aid to cities and counties.  Republicans say a nearly 18-billion-dollar budget surplus proves Minnesotans are overtaxed and they should get that money back.