Footballs at the MN governor’s mansion: ‘Raise the welfare grants!’
Saint Paul, MN – Members of the Welfare Rights Committee (WRC) ‘huddled’ in front of Governor Mark Dayton’s mansion Sept. 25. After a rally and speeches, low-income people hurled footballs over the locked fence. Written on streamers attached to the footballs were messages such as, “Help poor kids, not millionaires,” and “Raise the grants now!” Before they left, the protesters taped signs to the outside of the fence to hammer home the message.
Last legislative session, Governor Dayton found $24 million to give to Vikings football team owner Zygi Wilf for 2013, but no money for poor kids on welfare. The monthly amount of cash MFIP – the state’s welfare program for poor children and their parents – has not increased since 1986 – 27 years ago. Had the cash welfare grants kept up with the cost of living, they would be double. A family of two gets a cash grant of $437 per month. According to the WRC, “That $437 has to cover rent, clothing, transportation, utilities etc. The current welfare grants all but guarantee homelessness.”
According to the Welfare Rights Committee statement, “Governor Dayton could call for increasing the welfare grants. He could make helping the poor his priority. Instead he gives millions of dollars to millionaires like Vikings Football team owner Zygi Wilf.” Wilf was recently found guilty in New Jersey courts for defrauding his past partners and ordered to pay damages of over $80 million.
This fall, the Welfare Rights Committee will also be fighting cuts to the Food Stamp/SNAP program. Last week, Congress voted to cut millions from the program, passing, in the words of WRC, “an irrational provision saying that adults can’t get food stamps unless they are working, even though in much of the country there are no jobs to be found.”
For info, check out the Welfare Rights Committee at welfarerightsmn.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/groups/104618039626888.