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MN Welfare Rights Committee says, “Tax the rich or shut the government down!”

Demands Governor Dayton veto Health and Human Services Bill
Analysis by Deb Konechne |
May 22, 2011
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Welfare Rights Committee at State Capitol
Welfare Rights Committee at State Capitol (Fight Back! News/Staff)

St Paul, MN - As the legislative session nears its final day, Republicans continue to push the state toward a government shutdown. For working and poor, disabled and elderly Minnesotans, a government shutdown would by far be a better outcome than the deadly cuts that Republicans are trying to force down our throats.

“The Republicans are acting like school yard bullies, threatening the people of Minnesota with their deadly cuts and refusing to make the rich pay even one dime!” stated Kim DeFranco of the Welfare Rights Committee.

The Richest in Minnesota Have Not Paid One Dime for the Past Decade of Budget Deficits

While working and poor people have paid for past budget deficits, the wealthiest in Minnesota have not paid even one dime. In fact they have gotten richer and richer at the expense of poor and working Minnesotans. Look at the facts: if the governor’s original proposal to raise taxes on 5% of the population with the most income results in over $3 billion, this signifies just how much the State of Minnesota has been losing in tax income, year after year after year because the rich have not paid enough and because of the massive tax breaks they have benefitted from. This is incredible. It also means that the richest have amassed billions of dollars in extra income year after year while the rest of the people in the state have been living in desperate times.

“We live in the one of the wealthiest states in the country and one of the richest countries in the world,” stated Angel Buechner of the Welfare Rights Committee. “Yet our kids are homeless, going hungry and being kicked off health care! We did not make this crisis and we should not be the ones to pay for it.”

The Rich Created the Budget Crisis, The Rich Should Pay!

The fact is, if the rich paid enough taxes we would not even be in a budget deficit. The rich should actually pay back the wealth they have gained at the expense of poor and working people. In this time of budget crisis this state should be prioritizing the survival needs of the families and individuals in who are coping with disabilities and unemployment.

The Republican’s Health and Human Services Bill Butchers the Safety Net for Working and Poor Minnesotans! Governor Dayton must veto this bill.

The Governor must veto SF760 because it would cut the cash portion of the MFIP (Minnesota’s public assistance program) grant by $50 per adult SSI recipient who resides in the household. This uses disabled people’s federal SSI funds as a bludgeon against their impoverished family members. A cut such as this has never been carried out in any other state in the country. Also, it basically forces parents to break federal law by using the federal SSI grant for living expenses for the entire family rather than for the disabled family member as intended.

The Governor must veto SF760 because of the 60-residency requirement. It’s unconstitutional.

At least half of the MFIP grant is federal money and if we’re eligible, we’re eligible. When we are that broke and desperate, we don’t move to other states for “fun” or for “great benefits.” We move because we have concrete hopes and plans to make a better life. In this time of economic crisis, everyone in this country should have equal rights at survival.

The Governor must veto SF760 because it eliminates General Assistance and emergency programs, by folding them into under-funded county block grants. General Assistance is not a supplement to other income, it all people have; it’s GA or zilch. These programs are there to keep disabled people alive based on clear need.

The Governor must veto SF760 because it slashes health care for the poor and working people. It cuts our PCA services that allow us to live independently.

And, after the Governor vetoes the bill, we will call on him to reject all of these cuts to the disabled, poor and working people in the Special Session.

Who should be paying for the budget crisis - the children living deep in poverty or the rich who get big fat tax breaks to pad their already stuffed pockets?

A family of three on MFIP gets only $532 per month – far below the federal poverty level. A disabled person on GA gets a whopping $203 to live on. When we are forced onto assistance, life is already a miserable struggle, 24-7. We don’t need any more hate-driven laws to make things even worse.

We say, “Not one dime in cuts to poor and working Minnesotans! We call on Dayton to stand up to those who are threatening devastation on the people of Minnesota and veto all cuts!”