The Who, What, Where, When and Why on Poverty in Minnesota Legislative Commission to End Poverty in Minnesota by 2020 Gregory Gray, Executive Director March 27, 2008
Table of Contents • About the Commission (Who) • Commission’s Guiding Principles • Definition of poverty (What) • The facts about poverty in Minnesota (Where) • Can poverty be ended? (When) • What will it take and how do we benefit? (Why) • Questions & Answers
Legislative Commission to End Poverty in Minnesota by 2020 • Commission enacted into law in 2006 • 9 members appointed from the Minnesota House of Representatives • 9 members appointed from the Minnesota Senate • 2 non-voting members appointed by the Governor.
Commission’s Guiding Principles • Consistent and persistent approach that includes participation of people of faith, nonprofit agencies, government and business. • All people should be provided with those things that protect human dignity and make for a healthy life. • All people are intended to live well together as a whole community, seeking the common good, avoiding wide disparities between those who have to little to live on and those who have a disproportionate share of the nation’s goods.
Commission’s Guiding Principles • All people need to work together to overcome poverty, and this work transcends both any particular political theory or party and any particular economic theory or structure. • Alliances are needed between the faith community, nonprofit agencies, government, business and others. • Overcoming poverty involves both acts of direct service to alleviate the outcomes of poverty and advocacy to change those structures that result in people living in poverty.
Commission’s Guiding Principles • Government is neither solely responsible for alleviating poverty nor removed from that responsibility. Government is the vehicle by which people order their live based on their shared vision.
Commission Work Plan • Phase I – Setting the Vision • Monthly Hearings • Listening Tours • Phase II – Explore the Solutions • Examine “Best Practices” • Phase III – Create a Plan of Action.
Quick Facts about Poverty in Minnesota • Minnesota has the 8th lowest poverty rate. • 9.8% of Minnesotans live below the federal poverty line. • Approximately 464 thousand Minnesotans meet the federal standard for “poor”. • Another 719 thousand Minnesotans have income between 100% and 200% of the federal poverty line.
Quick Facts about Poverty in Minnesota • Minnesota’s poverty rate have risen over 2 percentage points over the last decade. • Minnesota has some of the greatest disparities in poverty by racial group. • While less then 7% of Minnesota’s white population is poor, about 33% of the African American population is poor. • Nationally, less then 26% of African Americans are considered poor.
Quick Facts about Poverty in Minnesota • Poverty is balanced between Minneapolis/St. Paul (41%) and Greater Minnesota (39%). • There are 4 key poverty characteristics • Educational Status • Family Status • Disability • Race and Ethnicity
Quick Facts about Poverty in Minnesota • Children under the age of 18 represent the single largest age group in poverty. 31% of those living in poverty in Minnesota are children.
Quick Facts about Poverty in Minnesota • A third (34%) of Americans were poor for at least 2 months during the 4 year period • 2% were poor every month of the 4 years • Half (51%) of poverty spells last 4 months or less • 80% of poverty spells last 1 year or less
Phase II – Exploring the Solutions • Note Key Issues Identified in Phase I • Health Care • Child Care • Affordable Housing • Transportation • Living Wage Jobs • Education • Criminal Justice Issues • Race & Gender Discrimination
Phase II – Exploring the Solutions • Determine “Best Practices” • Review other reports on poverty. • Accept input from interested parties. • Retreat to deliberate on definition of poverty. • Break into subcommittees to examine issues and potential recommendations.
Can Poverty be ended?Common Philosophies on Poverty • “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy ...” Deuteronomy 15:11. • “It is NOT possible for government to eliminate poverty, because there have always been and will always be people who make bad life decisions which lead to poverty. Government is not capable of preventing people from making such mistakes. Attempts to insulate people from any consequences of such mistakes are both costly and counterproductive, in effect becoming subsidies for the kind of self-destructive behavior which leads to poverty. “ Anonymous Blogger posting dated 07/15/07
Can Poverty be ended?Common Philosophies on Poverty • In a country well governed poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed wealth is something to be ashamed of. – Confucius. • Sen. John Edwards called poverty "the great moral issue of our time" and challenged our country to cut it by a third in a decade and end it within 30 years.
Can Poverty be ended?Common Philosophies on Poverty • Each Commission member has expressed their own opinion on poverty. • The range of opinions on poverty will color the recommendations. • Certainly ending poverty depends upon how you define it. • The Commission will put forward a “road map” on how to end poverty.
Ending PovertyWhat will it take? How would we benefit? • Substantial financial investment but more importantly, leadership from various sectors. • Reduced crime. • Greater workforce productivity. • Expanded economic development. • Citizen satisfaction.
Ending PovertyWhat will it take? How would we benefit? • We left of the “How” because we don’t know the how. We need your involvement and the involvement of many others to develop Minnesota’s plan. • Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org • Review our website at www.lcep.leg.mn