More than one in ten Minnesotans lives in poverty, and three in ten are struggling to meet basic needs. Some workers cannot afford housing and go from their jobs to a homeless shelter at night. It is time for a bold approach.
Sen. Marty is pushing for the state to adopt policies to move all Minnesotans out of poverty, through his legislation, Senate File 1440 which might be the single biggest step towards ending poverty that Minnesota has ever taken. Marty’s legislation would:
- Establish a $17/hour minimum wage through a gradual five-year phase-in ($15/hour for small businesses).
- Strengthen the Working Family Tax Credit—more than doubling the tax credits that low-income workers receive (bringing it to 75% of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit) – Even with $17/hour in wages many workers are not able to pay for basic needs, so the legislation would more-than-double Minnesota’s Working Family Credit. This would provide a couple thousand dollars more to a hard-working single parent who earns about $20,000 per year.
- Fully fund the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) and raise reimbursement rates – This will ensure all low-income working parents can get quality, reliable childcare, and eliminate the multi-year waiting lists. In addition, by raising reimbursement rates (to cover costs of childcare at the 75th percentile of local providers vs. the current 25th percentile), parents will have more options and can choose high-quality care, while childcare workers will earn a better wages and providers can afford additional training in child development.
- Provide a $200/month increase in the MN Family Investment Program (MFIP) grants – We know that children whose families cannot afford housing and food are robbed of their potential—we can measure how it inhibits their physical, mental, and emotional development. While we did succeed at passing a $100/month increase in 2019, that was the only increase since 1986. We need to provide at least an additional $200 per month increase to help stabilize the lives of low-income children.
Addressing poverty is a moral issue as well an economic one. Senator Marty believes that every worker should be able to afford basic needs, and that good jobs, with good wages, are good for the economy as well.
These investments in moving people out of poverty would be funded by closing the loophole in which high income earners are exempt from federal social security taxes on income over $147,000. Minnesota cannot change federal social security law, but if the federal government is not going to collect this revenue from high income earners it is reasonable for the state to collect it. High income earners would be paying the same percentage of their income in social security taxes that other Minnesota workers pay.