Budget surplus provides opportunity to invest in plans that can help roll back Minnesota’s inequalities during upcoming session
St. Paul, MN – As lawmakers head back to the Capitol for the first day of the 2016 session, members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in Minnesota are ready to fight for legislation that prioritizes working families and uses the surplus created by a strong economy and sound polices to invest in closing our state’s inequalities.
SEIU Members believe that the state’s $900 million surplus provides a golden opportunity for elected officials to make real investments in our educational system.
“After years of underinvestment, we’ve seen some movement in the previous years in education funding, but we still have a long way to go to get to proper funding from cradle to career,” said Anna Angeles- Farris, a parent, Custodian in the Lakeville schools and member of SEIU Local 284. “I have seen firsthand the need for real education funding through various areas of my life, from my children and grandchildren seeing the need for Pre-K, to my work in K-12 schools making clear to me the need for real investment so all students can succeed, to my family’s reality of the skyrocketing price of college. I know that we need to invest in education from top to bottom to ensure that all Minnesotans have a real shot at success, and will be fighting at the Capitol this session to make sure our surplus is spent on investing in education, not tax cuts.”
Seniors and people with disabilities who receive home care services in Minnesota are currently facing challenges as new Federal overtime laws are causing the hours of their home care workers to be capped. This is happening because the State of Minnesota hasn’t allocated proper funding to cover for the new law. This is harming the care clients are able to receive, which is why home care workers like Jill Rogers from Two Harbors are speaking out to fix this crucial problem this session.
“Clients don’t stop needing care at 40 hours. I don’t stop providing the care my son needs when my paid time runs out. It doesn’t work that way,” said Rogers, a member of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. “If this goes on for too long home care workers are going to quit and clients are going to go into institutions. But we can solve this problem. There is a budget surplus at the Capitol and our elected officials should ensure clients across the state get the care they deserve.”
SEIU Members are also strong advocates for the polices in the Working Parents Act, including Earned Sick and Safe Time, Paid Family Leave, Retirement Security, Putting a Stop to Wage Theft and Fair Scheduling which would help working families in our state and are important tools to help begin to roll back our state’s racial and economic disparities. Members are also excited to advocate for the recommendations approved by the Governor’s Health Care Finance Task Force, including expanding MinnesotaCare, extending the provider tax and ensuring undocumented families have the ability to receive affordable health care coverage.
SEIU members will be at the Capitol this session advocating for policies that support working families, and will host their Lobby Day on April 12th.
SEIU is the workers who provide care and support for your family in your homes, hospitals, public schools, nursing homes, hotels, universities and the Twin Cities’ largest public and private buildings, and who make and distribute products used by Minnesotans every day. The SEIU Minnesota State Council coordinates the electoral, legislative and outreach work of the SEIU Locals in Minnesota to increase the effectiveness of their collective bargaining and new member organizing campaigns. By building the political involvement of the approximately 53,000 people SEIU represents throughout the state, the State Council is working to improve the lives of all Minnesotans. The State Council’s board is comprised of elected leaders, members, and staff of the four SEIU Local Unions in Minnesota and Workers United.