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Coronavirus updates from coast to coast; and safety-net programs face deep cuts by Trump administration.

2020Talks - February 28, 2020 


Tomorrow are the South Carolina primaries, and former VP Joe Biden leads in the poll, followed by winner of the first three contests, Sen. Bernie Sanders and businessman Tom Steyer. Some Republican South Carolinians may vote for Sanders because they want closed primaries.

Minnesota: The “Mediocre” State?

December 15, 2008

St. Paul, MN – When it comes to spending that is critical for creating educational and economic opportunities, Minnesota is losing ground. The Minnesota Budget Project, an initiative of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, found that state funding for E-12 education, higher education, child care assistance and affordable housing and homelessness prevention will be at lower levels at the end of this decade than in it was in FY2003.

Policy analyst Katherine Blauvelt calls it a "lost decade" because the state failed to make adequate investments to improve the well-being and prospects of its residents.

"The state really took a step back in helping Minnesotans access the necessities of life, such as helping people afford child care or be able to afford a home."

She says the state also fell down on education funding. Minnesota's national rank in higher-education spending dropped from 12 to 35, the study found, while tuition increased.

The effects of funding not keeping up with needs are beginning to be felt, Blauvelt says.

"Minnesotans are finding themselves really constrained in their opportunities to get by, whether it's in the workplace or being able to provide for their families, succeed in school or earn an advanced degree."

She acknowledges it may be difficult for officials to increase investment in these key areas because of the state's $5 billion budget deficit. But Blauvelt says budgeting is all about determining priorities, and she argues that spending in areas that improve the quality and well-being of people's lives should be top priorities--especially in view of the ground that has been lost so far this decade.

"The Lost Decade: Taking a Closer Look at Minnesota's Public Investments in the 2000s" is available online at www.mncn.org.

Jim Wishner, Public News Service - MN