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MN Blog Cabin Roundup 2/12

Minnesota’s most basic support for families; five things about youth with an incarcerated parent; The new Homestead Property Tax Burden Report; and more.

Minnesota’s most basic support for families is stuck in a 30-year-long time warp, and it’s hurting 64,000 of our kids

from Minnesota Budget Bites by Ben Horowitz

When a family falls on hard times, the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) can provide some vital, basic resources to see them through. MFIP provides a small cash grant for parents working in low-wage jobs, looking for employment, and attending job training. Unfortunately, the cash grant intended to help parents keep their kids sheltered and in warm winter clothes hasn’t increased since 1986. The Legal Services Advocacy Project (LSAP) reports on the troubling implications in a brief they released this week.

5 things about youth who have had an incarcerated parent

from Community Matters by Julie Atella

If you work with youth in Minnesota, it’s likely you are working with people who have been affected by parental incarceration, even if you do not realize it. Data from the 2013 Minnesota Student Survey reveal some important considerations about youth who have had a parent in jail or prison. Here are five things you should know.

The new Homestead Property Tax Burden Report: ‘Do You Deserve a Break Today?’

from Fiscal Fitness, the blog of the Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence by Mark Haveman

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The Minnesota Department of Revenue publishes three major research reports on a regular basis that are generally regarded as the finest studies of their kind in the nation.  The first is the Tax Incidence Study, which serves as the body of evidence for “fair taxation” debates and therefore always receives splashy social media and editorial page attention.  The second is the Tax Expenditure Budget Report – a lower profile study identifying all the preferential treatments and potential amounts of “leakage” in Minnesota’s tax system.  It doesn’t have public profile of the incidence study, but its findings are routinely cited by media and public policy organizations in reporting on tax policy debates.

Then there is the “Residential Homestead Property Tax Burden Report” (a.k.a “Voss Report”), the truly one of a kind look at how residential property taxes relate to homeowners’ income.  Despite its important and informative content, it completely flies under the public and media’s radar.

Counterpoint: Expanding the existing drive-thru ban won’t hurt Minneapolis

from by Alex Cecchini

Minneapolis Council Members Lisa Bender and Lisa Goodman have introduced a change to city ordinances to broaden the coverage of Pedestrian Oriented Overlay districts. This includes a ban on drive-through fast food, banks, pharmacies, and other businesses. Eric Roper at the Star Tribune gave a pretty good run-down of the situation, followed by about 500 commenters raising the pitchforks and lighting torches at yet another sign of the war on cars.

The Star Tribune Editorial Board seems to side with the angry masses, releasing a short piece stating the city should re-think this strategy, citing the necessity of drive-throughs, questioning public safety arguments, and arguing for economic flexibility in recovering from the dark times of the Recession.

Revisiting ‘The Bones of Plenty’; and Lois Phillips Hudson’s Reflective Testimony to Ourselves and Coming Generations: ‘Unrestorable Habitat: Microsoft Is My Neighbor Now’

from Thoughts Towards a Better World by Dick Bernard

In 1962, Lois Phillips Hudson published “The Bones of Plenty”.

While I grew up a North Dakotan, I missed the book at the time of publication.

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In fact, it wasn’t until my friend, Nancy Erickson, told me about the The Bones of Plenty a few years ago, that I took the time to read it, and it spoke to me, very personally. It was my people she was talking about: rural North Dakotans who had lived through and survived the awful years of the 1930s, “The Great Depression”.

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