As the end of the 2021 Legislative Session inches closer, over 100 organizations from around Minnesota have called on state policymakers to make bold budget tax and budget decisions in order to meet the challenges of our times.
With the devastation that a global pandemic has brought to our door, the impacts from an incredibly unequal economic downturn that followed, and a long-overdue reckoning with Minnesota’s stark racial disparities — going about “business as usual” is unacceptable.
Our Minnesota neighbors need resources that will support their recovery through these compounded crises, as well as investments so that everyone can thrive into the future.
The good news? Our state is one of abundant resources. We have what we need to care for each other, if we choose to do so. That’s why, the organizations listed below — of all sizes and missions — have joined Together We Rise Minnesota in signing a letter calling for what is needed for our state: In order to build a strong, equitable recovery, state policymakers must make bold, structural investments and raise progressive revenues by asking those with the most resources to contribute a bit more.
Thank you to the organizations that have signed the letter below, advocating for a better way forward through policy choices that pursue a state where all can thrive, regardless of who they are or what zip code they call home.
See the full letter text and list of signatories below.
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May 6, 2021
Dear Honorable Governor Tim Walz and Members of the Minnesota Legislature:
As you work toward final tax and budget decisions in the 2021 Legislative Session, we call on you to rise to meet the challenges of our times: the ongoing impact of a public health emergency unlike any in our lifetimes, the continued disruption from a deep and unequal economic downturn, and a long-overdue reckoning with Minnesota’s stark racial disparities.
Through the Together We Rise Minnesota campaign, Minnesotans have united behind the following principles:
- Minnesota is a state of abundance, and should raise revenues in order to fully respond to the pandemic and economic downturn so that Minnesotans can be healthy, safe, and economically secure; to protect community and public services that Minnesotans count on; and build a more equitable recovery; and
- Policymakers should prioritize revenue-raising options that focus on those with the most resources, and that make the tax system more fair and equitable.
We can’t go back to a status quo budget that leaves too many of our neighbors behind and keeps Minnesota’s racial disparities – some of the worst in the nation – in place.
Federal aid and state resources should be used to take bold action to address the pandemic and economic downturn, focusing on those who were hit the hardest, and to build a stronger, more equitable recovery. Minnesota should make strong, structural investments in affordable housing, quality education for every child, child care, broadband and economic development, thriving communities, and other building blocks of shared prosperity. Dismantling barriers limiting opportunities for Minnesotans of color must be an intentional focus.
Raising taxes on those with the most resources would help build the more equitable recovery we all envision for our state. By enacting a new top income tax bracket on the highest-income Minnesotans and other tax policies focused on those Minnesotans and corporations that have prospered the most, you would raise the resources to maintain investments in a Minnesota where everyone can thrive after the influx of federal money has ended. In contrast, passing large, permanent tax cuts would undermine our future and make it harder to invest in an equitable economy that works for all of us.
Tax decisions should make our tax system more equitable and just, and advance economic security for low- and moderate-income Minnesotans and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Minnesotans.
This is a direction that a majority of Minnesotans support. In a survey commissioned by the Minnesota Budget Project conducted earlier this year, Data for Progress found that:
- 67 percent of Minnesotans supported raising income taxes on high-income households;
- 67 percent of Minnesotans supported raising taxes on profitable corporations; and
- 61 percent supported the state spending more money to eliminate racial inequities and provide equal opportunity to all Minnesotans.
Tax and budget choices should respond to the reality of our current budget and economic landscape. This recession may be the most unequal in modern history. It is doing the most harm to those with the least resources to get through it, including lower-income and BIPOC Minnesotans. At the same time, many of those with the greatest resources have seen their incomes and wealth grow.
In addition, the February Forecast showed the state’s budget situation has improved, but also revenues were still below what was projected in February 2020. And we know the forecast measures against a baseline budget that does not include what it takes for all Minnesotans to thrive. New funding to the state from the federal American Rescue Plan create an unprecedented opportunity, but these resources are temporary and cannot be a substitute for sustainable new revenues.
When faced with challenges, Minnesotans pull together to help one another get through. We call on you to meet this moment and build a stronger, more equitable recovery for us all.
AFSCME Council 65
Alliance Française Mpls/St Paul
Amherst H. Wilder Foundation
Avenues for Youth
Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Northland
Cannon River Watershed Partnership (CRWP)
Caponi Art park
Center for Economic Inclusion
Center for Victims of Torture
Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center
Children's Defense Fund - Minnesota
Choral Arts Ensemble
Coco Canary Consulting, LLC
Community Stabilization project
Faith in Minnesota
Friends School of Minnesota
Growth & Justice
Headway Emotional Health Services
Hopewell Music Cooperative North
Horn of Africa community of USA
Hunger Solutions Minnesota
Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota
Jewish Family and Children's Service of Minneapolis
Land Stewardship Project
Laura Baker Services Association
League of Women Voters of Minnesota
Main Street Alliance of Minnesota
Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers
MICAH- Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing
Midwest Food Connection
Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance
Minnesota Budget Project
Minnesota Center for Book Arts
Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
Minnesota Coalition For The Homeless
Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
Minnesota Council on Foundations
Minnesota Environmental Partnership
Minnesota First Community Solutions
Minnesota Health Fairs, Inc.
Minnesota Housing Partnership
Minnesota Nurses Association
Minnesota Social Service Association
Minnesota State Retiree Council, AFL-CIO
Money for Two Workshops, LLC
Mount Olivet Rolling Acres, Inc.
Northeast area labor council
NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center, Inc.
Open Access Connections
Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless
Osprey Wilds Environmental Learning Center
People for PSEO
People Serving People
Pillsbury United Communities
Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Action Fund
Plymouth Area Indivisible
Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council, Inc., Waseca
Reach for Resources, Inc.
Rochester Art Center
Rochester Public Library Foundation
SEIU Healthcare Minnesota
SEIU Local 284
SEIU MN State Council
South Sudanese community of Minnesota
Southeast Minnesota Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO
Southside Family Nurturing Center
Teamsters Service Bureau | Minnesota Job Partners
The Aliveness Project
The Family Partnership
The Heart and Mind Connection
The Lift Garage
The Wildwood Theatre
This Is Medicaid coalition
United Way of Central Minnesota
Voices For Racial Justice
Walk-In Counseling Center
West Region Minnesota AFL-CIO
Will Work for Recovery
Women Against Military Madness