Breakfast at Elsie’s on May 22
We urge all our supporters and readers of our e-news to attend and bring a friend to the first in our free summer breakfast series, on May 22 at Elsies in Northeast Minneapolis. You’ll learn a lot more about the past, present and future of our work, as we lead Minnesota constructively toward a more inclusive economy. At the first breakfast, you’ll hear from all three people who have led Growth & Justice since its founding in 2002: Joel Kramer, Dane Smith, and current president Jane Leonard. You will learn about our organization's influence on public policy and our ambitious new undertaking with The Minnesota Equity Blueprint, a guidebook for local and state leaders and residents toward racial, regional, economic and environmental equity. Breakfasts at Elsie’s in July and August will feature presentations from partnered community development leaders focusing on racial equity and climate action. The free breakfasts include eggs, sausage, bacon, french toast, bagels and pastries, fruit, and coffee. Stop by before you start your day!
As the 2019 legislative session reaches showdown stage, Growth & Justice has been working overtime with its many partners on key elements in our Policy Priorities for the 2019-2020 session. High on that list is preserving the health-care provider tax, also a top priority for dozens of non-partisan policy organizations and scores of health-care provider groups, 150 in all. The tax has become an essential funding tool for improving the lives and health of middle- and low-income Minnesotans, and the ill-advised sunsetting of the tax has emerged as one of the most important sticking points in the final days. A broad coalition has formed behind this cause and a compelling case has been made in recent weeks by the Star Tribune Editorial Board, by many newspapers across Greater Minnesota, by our allies in the Minnesota Budget Project, and across the state by scores or providers themselves, such as St. Paul pediatrician Sue Berry.
In last week’s enews we highlighted an exciting confluence of events focusing on equity and inclusion. One was our own Growth & Justice community forum in the southwestern Minnesota town of Olivia. We chose that location to begin the roll-out of The One Minnesota Equity Blueprint, focusing on how to build “Human Capital’’ in rural and urban areas. Our initiative was described accurately and perceptively in articles by MinnPost’s Gregg Aaamot and the West Central Tribune’s Tom Cherveny. The other event was sponsored in Minneapolis by the Center for Economic Inclusion, which released a sobering report on racial disparities in the Twin Cities economy. Star Tribune business writer Neal St. Anthony weighed in this week with a reinforcing column based on his observations at the event. From the column: “This (policies that drive economic inclusion and equity) is not only the moral thing to do. It is an economic imperative. Virtually all of the population growth in the Twin Cities of the future will be from minorities and immigrants. If we are to expand our regional economy, those folks must upgrade their skills and earnings.’’
“It’s much better to be an employee in Minnesota than it is in Texas. We spend a lot of our lifetime working for a living. A big difference I’ve seen between Minnesota and other states is that the employee enjoys broader support from the institutions of democracy there than in a place like Texas. ‘Rugged individualism’ runs rampant across Texas — until, of course, some tragedy occurs that is outside of the individual’s control. Then the complaints about the lack of assistance for those in crisis flow freely.” From MinnPost commentary “Missing Minnesota and the Quality of Life Its Taxes Help Support,’’ by University of Texas lecturer Robert Velez, rebutting anti-government critiques of Minnesota’s taxes and business climate.