FW: Federal Action Alert and Tuesday night Precinct Caucuses
- The proposed federal budget changes will affect us locally just as the recent ones will be soon. Please consider contacting our Congressional members and encouraging caring citizens to get active in our democratic process.
From: Rod Halvorson [mailto:Rod@...]
Sent: Monday, March 06, 2006 3:42 PM
Subject: MSSA Legislative Update #6, Federal Action Alert and Tuesday night Precinct Caucuses
March 6, 2006 Volume 113, Number 6
Federal Action Alert - We Need to Fight Again to Prevent More Cuts to H&HS Funding
The following Federal Alert is from our strong strategic partner Nan Madden, Budget Project Coordinator, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. With the help of all our partners, our community made a difference on the Federal Budget Reconciliation debate. We lost the battle, but our calls made a difference and helped persuade Congressman Jim Ramstad to reconsider his position and on the final vote, he voted against the cuts in human service funding. Let's work together again with our partners and stop any further cuts in the programs that help our clients.
Federal Action Alert from the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
The President released his budget last month, and it calls for harmful cuts in services that make a real difference in our communities. Despite these cuts, the President's budget would actually increase the deficit because it includes large tax cuts, mainly for the highest-income Americans.
The House and Senate Budget Committees are expected to craft their FY 2007 budget resolutions this week, which will set binding limits on the level of discretionary spending and could require more cuts in entitlement programs such as Medicaid.
Our representatives in Washington must hear that the President's budget contains the wrong priorities for Minnesota and the wrong priorities for the country. Senator Norm Coleman could play a critical role by weighing in with Senate leadership against deep discretionary cuts and against cuts in low-income entitlement programs.
Some members of the Minnesota delegation are thought to be key to the outcome:
Senator Norm Coleman - (202) 224-5641
Rep. Gil Gutknecht - (202) 225-2472
Rep. Mark Kennedy - (202) 225-2331
Rep. Jim Ramstad - (202) 225-2871
Ask to speak to the staff person who handles the area of most concern to you, or ask to speak to the budget staff person if you want to address multiple issue areas.
Please personalize your message - tell the staff person how Minnesotans have been hurt by recent state and federal budget cuts, and what additional federal cuts would mean.
1. Oppose the deep cuts in domestic discretionary programs included in the President's budget
The President's budget cuts $125 billion over the next five years from this portion of the budget - a 10% reduction by 2011 in domestic discretionary programs (excluding defense, homeland security, and foreign aid).
Below are just some of the federal funding cuts to Minnesota in the President's budget over five years (2007 to 2011): 
* $124 million cut from K-12 Education, including an $89 million in federal funding for Special Education.
* $113 million cut from Vocational and Adult Education
* $35 million cut from nutrition for women, infants, and children (WIC) - 7,300 fewer Minnesotans would be served in 2011
* $13 million cut from the Child Care and Development Block Grant
* $81 million cut from Children and Families Services, including a $41 million cut to the Community Services Block Grant - at least 1,100 fewer Minnesota children would be served by Head Start in 2011 as a result.
* 11,900 Minnesota seniors would lose food assistance from the Commodity Supplemental Food Program
* $36 million less for repair of public housing in Minnesota
* $85 million cut from the Community Development Block Grant
* $76 million cut from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance program (LIHEAP)
* $35 million cut from EPA Clean Water/Drinking Water Revolving Funds
2. Don't make cuts in low-income entitlement programs.
Last year's budget reconciliation bill made $40 billion in cuts over five years in health care, child support enforcement, support for people with disabilities, student loans, and other areas.  Minnesotans are still trying to understand and respond to the 2005 cuts, and we cannot sustain more cuts this year. Medicaid is thought to be particularly vulnerable if Congress chooses to require entitlement cuts through a budget reconciliation process.
3. Don't adopt tax cuts that will further increase the deficit.
The President has proposed new and extended tax cuts that would cost at least $285 billion over five years. These tax cuts would largely benefit the wealthiest Americans at the same time that low- and middle-class people would feel the brunt of cuts in government services. In addition, the federal budget deficit would grow to even higher levels, threatening the nation's future ability to meet its priorities.
If you have questions or need further information, call Nan Madden at 651-642-1904 x230. We appreciate it if you can share with us what feedback you receive.
 These estimated cuts are reductions from current levels of spending adjusted for inflation. For more information, see Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Program Cuts in the President's Budget: Cuts Grow Deeper Over Time and Will Hit States Hard, www.cbpp.org <http://www.cbpp.org/> .
2 For more on the 2005 Budget Reconciliation legislation's impact on Minnesota, see Minnesota Budget Project, The Budget Conference Agreement's Impact on Minnesota, www.mncn.org/bp/impactonmnpdf <http://www.mncn.org/bp/impactonmn.pdf> .
Caucus Night is this Tuesday Night, 7 pm, March 7th
All last session and for the past four months (Federal Budget Reconciliation Bill), I have encouraged all of our members to exercise their democratic rights and responsibilities and become actively involved in the political and public policy process. Again this month, I would like to encourage you to get involved by attending the party precinct caucus of your choice. On Tuesday, March 7 at 7 pm, every major party will hold a precinct caucus near you (Minnesota Statutes, 202A14, subdivision 1). To learn more about what happens at a party caucus, you can find a brief explanation on the Secretary of State's website: http://www.sos.state.mn.us/docs/mn_precinct_caucuses_2006.pdf . To find the location of your caucus, you can contact your local County Auditor (Election office) by following your county's link on the following website: http://www.mncounties.org/About_Counties/county_websites.htm . The major parties also have websites that are more likely to produce results. Call your party (or use their website) to get the location for you neighborhood precinct caucus:
1. DFL www.dfl.org <http://www.dfl.org/> 651-293-1200 or 1-800-999-7457
2. Green www.mngreens.org <http://www.mngreens.org/> 612-871-4585
3. Independence www.mnip.org <http://www.mnip.org/> 651-487-9700
4. Republican www.mngop.org <http://www.mngop.org/> 651-222-0022
The four major elements of a party precinct caucus are the following:
1. election of delegates and alternates,
2. discussion of issues,
3. election of party leadership,
4. cast your presidential preference ballot.
Under item #2, each party adopts a platform made up of several public policy positions. This is an opportunity for each of you to become an advocate for your preferences for Minnesota's human service delivery system. You are the experts. Share your opinions with your neighbors. You can also become an advocate for MSSA's 2006 Public Policy Agenda. Our Agenda can be found at the following website: http://www.mnsocialserviceassoc.org/2006ppa.pdf . You are welcome to use any of our Agenda positions as resolutions at your caucus. Please go to the caucus and make a difference for your clients.
Minnesota Social Service Association
MSSA 113th Annual Conference and Training Expo
March 21-24, 2006
Conference Website: www.mssaconference.org <http://www.mssaconference.org/>
"To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition, to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." Ralph Waldo Emerson
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