What Legislative Budget Proposals Would Mean for Low Income Minnesotans
The Minnesota House of Representatives and the Minnesota Senate have passed their major budget bills. Now the two bodies have to work out the differences in their bills. What’s in those bills? Cuts and unverified savings but no new revenues.
Included in the cuts are proposals that would target families with disabled parents and children on MFIP, eliminate the statewide General Assistance program, end public health care coverage for at least 100,000 Minnesotans, cut transit services almost in half or force fares of $4 a ride, restrict access to training and education for parents on the state’s welfare to work program, and more. For a chart on the budget proposals that have the most significant impact on low income Minnesotans, click here.
The unverified numbers? The Health and Human Services bill, for instance, claims $700 million among its cuts that the state’s fiscal office, Minnesota Management and Budget, has not analyzed and has questioned. Some bills have identified as savings, numbers from the sales pitches by private companies that want public tax-paid contracts. What this probably means is that even legislators who vowed to close the state’s deficit with cuts alone have balked at what $5 billion in real cuts would look like.
Next Steps in the legislature: The Governor has said he wants to see the House and Senate negotiate their differences and pass shared bills that can be the source of his negotiations with the Legislature. Legislative leadership has said they want to use the conference committees set up to negotiate the differences in the legislative bills as the place to negotiate with the Governor as well.
If you care about education and training for parents on MFIP: Make sure you have identified parents who can complete a mock diploma and send it to their legislators and members of the Health and Human Services committee. Click here and scroll to Defend Education and training.
Find out if your legislator is holding a town hall meeting: If she or he is, attend. Check the MN Coalition for the Homeless website to see a calendar of town hall meetings.
Get involved with Invest in Minnesota: a coalition of non-profits, faith-based organizations and labor groups that advocate for a combination of careful cuts and fair taxes for solving this deficit.
And as always: Communicate in your own words with your legislator about what is important to you in this budget. If you need your legislators’ contact information, you can get it in 20 seconds at http://www.gis.leg.mn/OpenLayers/districts/. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and enter your address.