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MN low-income people say, ‘Dayton budget proposal fails the poor’

MN welfare grants will be essentially unchanged after 27 years without an increase
By staff |
January 22, 2013
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Members of Welfare Rights Committee protest, demand the raise of grants.
Members of Welfare Rights Committee protest, demand the raise of grants. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

St. Paul, MN – The Twin Cites-based Welfare Rights Committee (WRC) issued a statement today, Jan. 22, responding to Governor Dayton’s 2014-2015 budget proposal. It read, “A shameful part of the budget proposal is how it fails the poorest families in Minnesota, by not calling for a substantial increase in Minnesota’s welfare cash grants.”

Welfare grants have not been increased since 1986 - 27 years ago. Meanwhile the cost of living has doubled since 1986. In 1986, a family of two (a parent and a child) received $437 per month in cash to live on. Today, that same family of two still only gets $437. If the grants had kept up with inflation they would now be doubled.

The WRC statement notes, “The governor pays back the school funding shift, but it is also time to talk about paying back the TANF funding shift. TANF is the yearly block grant that Minnesota gets from the federal government to fund its welfare program. Year after year, TANF dollars have been raided to supplant general fund spending. Right now, there is almost enough money in the federal TANF block grant to double the grants in 2013, if it were used for poor families.”

The statement concludes, “The Welfare Rights Committee, supported by dozens of other organizations, has a bill to double the welfare grants. The bill will be introduced soon. We don’t care what the governor’s budget says - we will call on legislators to do the right thing. It is time to use TANF money for TANF families. It is time to double the grants.”

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