The Minnesota Legislature’s regular session adjourned on Monday after settling on a $52 billion two-year budget. However, legislators will still have to go into overtime to finalize language for major budget bills and negotiate on other policy issues, such as police accountability and “Clean Car” rules. Aside from general budget points, the $52 billion will go toward purposes such as avoiding taxes on extra jobless benefits, COVID-19 response, summer school programs, mental health support, and more. Additionally, $70 million has been set aside for broadband. You can read about the budget settlement in these AP News and MinnPost articles.
Growth & Justice has been tracking legislation related to topics in the Minnesota Equity Blueprint throughout this session— based on that tracking, none of the bills we followed were passed by Monday. Many of the omnibus bills we tracked ended the session in conference committees, but it’s possible they could be discussed again during the special session in June. For a nice rundown, you can check out “What got done— and what didn’t— during Minnesota’s 2021 legislative session” in the Duluth News Tribune.
Earlier this week, the Federal Reserve Board released a report titled “Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2020.” It shows that almost a quarter of adults responded they were “worse off financially compared to a year earlier, reflecting the economic fallout and distress resulting from the global COVID-19 pandemic.” While that is an increase, the report says the majority of adults (75%) responded that they were “either doing okay or living comfortably in November”— but well-being numbers since 2019 still show education and race disparities. The report also included survey response on employment, layoffs, and disruptions to education and childcare to gauge COVID-19 impact. In addition to the report, you can view interactive charts visualizing responses on financial well-being and unexpected expenses over the past eight years.
Next Tuesday, May 25, is another TRUE Tuesday from 2:30—4, titled “Building an Inclusive Economy in Greater Minnesota.” Hear from representatives of the Community Workforce Inclusion Council in Brainerd about how rural northwestern Minnesota communities are “engaging employers to address hidden bias in the workplace, and [connecting] them with diverse talent pools” to help foster more inclusive workforce practices. You can register for the Zoom session here!
There is also a Rural Opportunity and Development (ROAD) session on Wednesday, May 26 focused on advancing quality childcare in rural areas. You can register and read more about the panelists and discussion here!
“The most recent [Survey of Household Economics and Decision-Making], conducted in November 2020, shows that at the end of 2020, 24% of adults were worse off financially than they were a year ago, up from 14% in 2019. Nevertheless, despite an increase in setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most Americans were still managing financially at the end of 2020, with three quarters of adults saying they were at least “doing ok” financially.” — Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2020 video