Senate Republicans introduced legislation making blanket cuts of 5% to state agencies Tuesday, threatening the ability of Minnesotans to get the essential services they are depending on as they weather the COVID-19 pandemic. With a public health and economic crisis that has hit working Minnesotans, low income communities, and communities of color hardest, now is not the time for cuts.
In response, Senator Omar Fateh (DFL-Minneapolis) and Senator Jen McEwen (DFL-Duluth) released the following statement:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been a dual crisis for hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans, with working families, low income communities, and communities of color bearing the brunt of the impacts from the virus on their health and from lost work. During this era, it is not only our agencies who have had to dramatically adapt.
Families are struggling. Unemployment has skyrocketed. In the COVID-19 Era, Minnesotans are struggling to navigate their basic needs and the needs of their families. We have families adjusting to home learning, new childcare and long-term care needs, and many people who are turning to government services for the first time. By proposing austerity measures like a blanket cut to these agencies, the only guarantee for these Minnesotans is more pain and misfortune.
Instead of austerity, the state should be doing everything within its power to increase and expand these vital lifelines that Minnesotans have depended on. With an updated budget forecast coming in February and billions of dollars in aid coming from recently passed federal legislation, proposing these cuts is premature and unnecessary. We call on our colleagues to join us in encouraging our federal delegation and the new administration to promptly pass meaningful relief that helps Minnesotans weather this crisis.”