Action alert May 3 and May 4

TELL Governor and Legislators to Bring 70,000 MN Children Out of Extreme Poverty – 27 years with no increase: Raise the Welfare Grants Now.

#1 Action step: Keep contacting Dayton
651-201-3400

Ask Governor Dayton to push for more money for Health and Human Services.

You could say, “In your negotiations with the legislative leadership, I want you to insist on higher General Fund targets for Health and Human services. Poor, elderly and disabled families are already suffering, and the House and Senate both cut more for programs that serve us.”

Right now, Governor Mark Dayton and the legislative leadership are negotiating about the overall state budget. Both the House and the Senate budget targets shorted the health and human services area, which will result to cuts to poor elderly and disabled people. The result of today’s negotiations could be more money in the Health and Human Services budget targets. This would help in our fight to “Raise the Welfare Grants!”

#2 Action step: Contact the conferees

The conference committee is meeting in the mornings and evenings to settle the differences between the House and Senate version of the health and human services bills. They won’t take much action until the final budget targets are settled – so be sure to take Action Step #1. But please also contact the conferees and tell them we need action on a grant increase this year.They will be meeting Saturday, too, so if you can’t call them all today, call them Saturday.

Here is what you could say: “MFIP [EM-fip] grants need a substantial increase this year. The money for a grant increase is in the TANF [TAN-ef] fund. Any increase in the budget targets should be used to pay back the years of thefts from TANF and should go directly to an immediate grant increase for poor families. Until the final target is decided, please support both the House and Senate positions as far as the grant increase goes. The rental assistance in the House version will help many families. It will make sure that $20 million of the TANF money is going to directly to families in need, instead of being siphoned off for things that should be paid for by the General Fund.”

Rep. Jim Abeler, rep.jim.abeler@house.mn 651-296-1729
Rep. Tina Liebling, rep.tina.liebling@house.mn 651-296-0573
Rep. Rena Moran, rep.rena.moran@house.mn 651-296-5158
Rep. Thomas Huntley, rep.thomas.huntley@house.mn 651-296-2228
Rep. Diane Loeffler, rep.diane.loeffler@house.mn 651-296-4219
Sen. Melisa Franzen, sen.melisa.franzen@senate.mn 651-296-6238
Sen. Tony Lourey, sen.tony.lourey@senate.mn 651-296-0293
Sen. Melissa Wiklund, sen.melissa.wiklund@senate.mn 651-297-8061
Sen. Jeff Hayden, sen.jeff.hayden@senate.mn 651-296-4261
Sen. Kathy Sheran, sen.kathy.sheran@senate.mn 651-296-6153

#3 What is in the Senate bill and the House bill

Our position is that there should be a substantial increase in the MFIP cash grants this year. Both the House and Senate bills fall short of that, but are better than nothing.
The Senate bill has a 16% grant increase that doesn’t start until October 2015. We say, this increase should start in 2013. If the TANF money was used for TANF families, it would more than cover an immediate increase. In fact it would almost cover a 100% increase, which is needed to keep up with the cost of living since 1986 (the last time the grants were raised).

The House bill gives some families a housing allowance to help with high housing costs. The money for this House provision is TANF money that is currently going to counties in the form of the Support Services county block grant. When the Republicans put this into place, it was a way to steal TANF money that should have been used for poor families to supplant county and state spending on programs for the poor.

Some things in the Support Services grant, such as Emergency Assistance, should be protected.However we are completely opposed to TANF dollars being used for other “services” at the expense of the children and families in poverty.In 2012,$30 million more went to these “services” than was spent on cash grants for ALL of the families receiving MFIP(100,000 individuals).In 2012 only 27 % of the total federal TANF dollars was given to the families in the form of cash grants. Meanwhile over 100,000 people were living in extreme poverty.

TANF money should go to TANF families! Raise the grants!

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