Statement on DFL Budget Targets: 3-23-2013

DFL budget targets cut again from poor, elderly and disabled.

The budget targets must be re-done!

On March 19, the leadership of the Minnesota House and Senate released their budget targets. Both targets included over $150 million in cuts from the Health and Human Services area. These cuts come after years of cuts by Republicans. The Democrats have turned their backs on poor, elderly and disabled people. The Welfare Rights Committee and others demand that the House and the Senate go back and re-do the targets to fix of decades of unmet need.

One example of unmet need: The welfare (MFIP) grant level for children and their unemployed caregivers. The cash grant for these families has not been increased since 1986…27 years ago. Meanwhile, politicians are working to pass a pay increase for the governor and future legislators.

We are disgusted by the Democrats. For the first time in years, they are the majority in both bodies of the legislature. Instead of using this time to do the right things (the very things they lamented they could not do in recent years) they seem to be cravenly bowing to what the lobbyists of the rich are telling to do. Instead of acting like leaders, they appear to be trying to position themselves to win the ‘next election.’ So they can steal from the poor again?

We have made the need for a welfare grant increase clear since July – and we have said no matter what party is in charge, this is the year to do it. Minnesotans have send hundreds of postcards to the governor and key legislators. We have done several call-in campaigns. The message was, “Raise the grants.” The cards and calls to legislative leadership had the message to include money for a grant increase in the Health and Human Services target. But instead they cut the HHS budget.

The legislature is on Easter/Passover break. We hope they will use this time to reflect on the harm they are causing.

The Welfare Rights Committee will be calling out the leadership – Senators Bakk and Pappas, and Representatives Thissen and Murphy and others – demanding that they re-do the targets and put more money into Health and Human Services.

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