Wednesday to Friday, March 13-15: Please call MN House and Senate leadership.
Tell them to include money for a welfare grant increase when they set the “budget targets.”
Soon, the leadership of the MN House and the Senate will decide how much money they will give to the entire Health and Human Services budget. This is the budget that includes welfare (MFIP) for poor families. Once they make that decision, it is hard to get more money added to the target. So we have to make sure that poor families are not robbed, for the umpteenth year in a row.
Please call the Senate Leadership and House Leadership. Also, please call your own legislator, ask him or her to advocate for this message in caucus. 27 years is too long to go without a grant increase!
Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Thissen, 651-296-5375
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Tom Bakk, 651-296-8881
House Majority Leader Rep. Erin Murphy, 651-296-8799
Senate Assistant Majority Leader Sen. Katie Sieben, 651-297-8060
House Majority Whip Rep. John Persell, 651-296-5516
Senate Deputy Majority Leader Sen. Jeff Hayden, 651-296-4261
Click here to find your legislators.
To start with, call Rep. Thissen and Sen. Bakk. But please take time to call them all, if you can!
“I ask that you support a significant increase to the MFIP [“EM-fip”] grant in Minnesota. Specifically, when you set budget targets, I ask that you include enough funding for an MFIP grant increase in the Health and Human Services budget.
MFIP is the cash assistance program for children and their parents. Those grants have not increased for 27 years. The same as it was in 1986, the cash grant for a family of two is still $437 a month. If the grants had kept up with inflation, they would more than DOUBLE.
The money is there. Last year only 28% of the federal dollars given to Minnesota for welfare — the TANF [“TAN-ef”] fund – went directly to poor MN families in cash grants. TANF money should go to TANF families.
Please support families – including 70,000 children – by including funding for a substantial grant increase in the HHS budget target.”
Click here for more information on why we need to “Raise the Grants!”
Legislative audio and video coverage on our battle to raise the grants
Last week was an eventful one for our bill to increase grants.
On Monday, we testified at the Senate Health, Human Services and Housing Policy Committee. Our bill passed on to the Senate Finance Division. Click here to hear the audio recording (start at 1:08; it lasts about 64 minutes).
On Tuesday, several legislators held a press conference on the $437 Challenge. Click to view the partial video of $437 Challenge press conference.
Legislators’ “$437 Challenge” Press conference
Tuesday, March 5, 2:30 p.m. (press conf. starts at 2:40)
State Capitol Building Room 125
Several legislators have agreed to take the “$437 Challenge!” Please come and show your support! The event won’t last long (busy time for legislators at the capitol), so plan to get there before 2:30 so you don’t miss it!
For one week, they will try to live on the amount of cash that an MFIP family lives on. If the legislators can find a willing family member, those 2 would have about $101 to get by on for the week. If they go solo, that senator or representative would get $51 in cash to live on for a week.
With this amount of cash, they would have to pay rent, mortgage, utility bills, phone, children’s school costs, transportation (bus, gas, insurance, parking), clothes, additional food costs when food stamps run out, hygiene and household supplies, laundry costs, etc.
In trying to persuade legislators to take up the challenge, the Welfare Rights Committee noted that we don’t expect them to lose their housing, indeed we expect that they most likely won’t “succeed” — the aim is to expose how low Minnesota’s welfare grants are, and to report back on their experience.
The cash grants for welfare/MFIP have not been increased for 27 years. A child and caregiver get a maximum of $437 per month. Two children and a parent get a maximum of $532 per month. It is virtually impossible to find family housing for that amount, much less have anything left over the rest of the family’s needs.
Here is a list of who has agreed to take the challenge:
State Senator Chris Eaton
State Senator John Marty
Other legislators have declared that they cannot do the challenge, but will show up at Tuesday’s press conference in support.
On Monday, March 4, the bill to increase the grants, SF165, passed the Senate Committee on Health, Human Services and Housing. Tuesday’s “$437 Challenge” press conference is another step forward to undo 27 years of inaction.
This week: Two days of events at the Capitol to “Raise the Welfare Grants!”
We are plugging away with our effort to substantially increase the welfare grants in the state of Minnesota. We are getting signers on our bill to “Double the Grants” (18 House members have signed on so far), and it will be introduced soon in the House and the Senate. Governor Dayton did not include a grant increase in his budget proposal, so we have to count on the House and the Senate to do the right thing after 27 years without an increase to the welfare grants.
This week, we have 3 public actions. Please read below for more info, and try to attend as many as you can!
1. Wednesday, Jan. 30, 8:30 a.m. – Public Testimony on Gov. Dayton’s budget in the Senate
Senate Health and Human Services Finance Division
State Capitol Building, ++Room changed to 123
Gov. Dayton’s budget did not include a welfare grant increase. Nor did it undo any of the cuts to welfare that families have been suffering under for the past several years. The Senate Health and Human will be taking public testimony on the governor’s budget proposal on Wednesday morning. The Welfare Rights Committee will be testifying. If you are interested in testifying on Governor Dayton’s Health and Human Services budget in the Senate HHS Finance Division, here is what you have to do: “If you would like to testify, please email your name, organization, and the topic area for your testimony to email@example.com by 5pm on Tuesday, January 29th.”
2. Wednesday, Jan. 30, 10:00 a.m. – Public Hearing on Gov. Dayton’s budget in the House
House Health and Human Services Finance Committee
State Office Building, Room 200
Please join us to let the Reps know what we think of the Governor’s budget proposal! ++update Jan. 29 – testimony will be next week.
3. Thursday, Jan. 31, 2:45 p.m. -$437 Challenge/Raise the Grants action outside the House Chambers at the Capitol
We will know of any changes to this on Monday night. We’ll let the list know if it changes.
Join us in our final push to get more Representatives to sign on to our bill to “Double the Grants.” Also, we will be asking Reps to take part in our $437 Challenge – seeing who could live on $437 per month. We will hold a press conference at 2:45. As the Representatives enter the chamber, we will give them information and ask them to sign our bill. This is a great opportunity to hold a sign, learn the process and take a stand!
Click to see the $437 challenge postcard.