Community Action sponsoring public meeting on governor’s budget proposals

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 19, 2002

To discuss the impact of the state’s $1.

Saturday, January 19, 2002

To discuss the impact of the state’s $1.95 billion budget shortfall on our community, Community Action will organize a public meeting on Jan. 29.

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Gov. Jesse Ventura proposed his budget-balancing plan that includes a budget cut of $700 million in the 2002-2003 fiscal year, a sales tax increase for tobacco and gas, an extension of sales taxes to some services and items that are not currently taxed, and use of some budget reserves.

&uot;The governor’s proposal disproportionately hits the poorest Minnesotans,&uot; Community Action Director Collette Turcotte points out. &uot;It is not all right to balance the state budget on the backs of them.&uot;

Cuts in state grants would affect various social services in the community run by public and non-profit agencies.

Community Action, for example, has already been notified of a possible 5 percent cut of the Minnesota Economic Opportunity grant, according to Turcotte. The annual $67,000 grant the organization currently receives is a major portion of its operational budget.

Another $115,000 biannual grant for housing might be reduced, too. The money is used for maintaining shelters for both long-term and transitional needs for the underprivileged.

Currently, five families, including 15 children, are in the shelters. &uot;I don’t know how we would send these people onto the street,&uot; Turcotte said.

During the meeting, which starts at 10 a.m. at the Riverland Community College Lecture Hall, Minnesota Community Action Association Executive Director Tarryl Clark will present her perspective on the budget crisis impact. She will also orchestrate training on how to communicate effectively with state legislators and other public officials.

Turcotte expects as many organizations as possible will get together at the meeting and exchange their views.