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Welfare Rights Committee says: "State Poverty Commission is a sham"

by staff |
June 5, 2008
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People holding signs at protest
(Fight Back! News)

St. Paul, MN - Taking the podium at the June 3 meeting of the Legislative Commission to End Poverty by 2020, Angel Buechner, flanked by members of the Welfare Rights Committee, stated, “We are here today at the ‘retreat’ of the Legislative Commission to End Poverty to speak out against the tens of millions of dollars stolen from Minnesota’s poor. Just 15 days ago, on the last day of the Minnesota legislative session, tens of millions of dollars were taken from the TANF fund - the federal block grant for welfare - and used to pay for the state’s budget deficit. Furthermore, not one dime of the tens of millions in federal welfare dollars was spent to put money back into the pockets of poor families.”

By speaking of putting money back in the pockets of poor families, Buechner was referring to bills pushed by the Welfare Rights Committee. Most of the items in the bills cost less than $3 million, compared to the $80 million in TANF dollars that were taken to balance the budget. Deb Konechne and Kim Hosmer also pointed out that welfare grants in Minnesota have not been increased for 22 years. Meanwhile, the cost of living has increased by over 89%.

Welfare Rights members entered the hearing after picketing outside the building as legislators entered. Some legislators expressed outrage at the directness of the remarks of the women of the Welfare Rights Committee. But WRC member Linden Gawboy said, “They know they’re guilty as sin about taking our money. They’re all spluttering because we called them out.”