Letter to the Editor: It's Time for the Legislature to Get Serious About Poverty

Two Burnsville residents weigh in on the Family Economic Security Act.

Dear Editor:

Our state legislators are faced with many difficult decisions this session. I’d like to highlight the Family Economic Security Act (FESA) because I don’t believe that our middle class family is very different from the one many of you have. We’ve had family members trying to live, keep a roof over their heads and raise young families on minimum wage jobs and no access to childcare. They live in poverty with no end in sight. I am asking our legislators to give serious attention to promoting the wellbeing and stability of our MN families who do live in poverty through the Family Economic Security Act (FESA). It was crafted from recommendations made by the bi-partisan Legislative Commission to End Poverty in Minnesota by 2020, a commission established in 2006 by the legislature.

It’s time that Minnesota addresses the growing poverty in our state with strategic investments. If followed, these recommendations could reduce poverty in MN by up to 27 percent. They promote conditions necessary for a stable home environment, critical to the wellbeing of families. The increase in the minimum wage, though still not meeting the level of $14 /hour defined as a living wage, would move families closer to being able to cover all of the expenses of a household with children.

Increasing access to child care is crucial to guaranteeing stable employment for parents, greatly expanding the self-sufficiency and economic stability of families. This would have compounding effects. Studies show that the stress of instability in the lives of young children (frequent moves, lack of food, or emotional trauma) can affect their brain development over time. FESA could help reduce the toxic stress in the lives of children in Minnesota.

The Family Economic Security Act (FESA) is an important step toward putting an end to poverty – so detrimental to families. Recently there are signs that our economic recovery is gaining steam, but this advantage is not shared by too many of our Minnesota families. We can do better! I call on our state legislators to support this important piece of legislation. 

Jean MacFarland & Bill Keatts


Sa February 03, 2013 at 03:16 PM
as we increase minimum wage we increase cost of goods and services. Jobs such as fast food, retail/food etc. mostly employed by 16 to 21 or for families to supplement income. Very few full time workers in retail/fast food and food chains. Does a 16 yr old need to earn 14? If we reduced government wages ACROSS THE BOARD. Currently we all have about 33% coming out of our pay. Cutting taxes to 16% total we pay EX. 50k pay salary (after benefits) paying 33% spends 16,500 taxes medicare/medicaid and state takes home 33,500 a yr Cutting the wage by 5%= 47,500 paying 16% pays 7,600 a yr in taxes. Now has 39,900 take home. INCREASE LIVING OF 6,400 We reduce government spending We increase every ones take home We spend money in the economy We create jobs the more jobs we create, the more taxes they have Those who work for government, i see that rather then pay cut and reduced taxes they prefer pay increase. End result is less take home. If they were all willing to see that reduction in pay, and reduction in taxes they would actually live on more
Michele Olson February 04, 2013 at 02:29 AM
Sa, you DO realize that a lot of people who are earning minimum wage - and paying for housing - are NOT 16 years old? Many of them are trying to start a family.
Michele Olson February 04, 2013 at 02:30 AM
Oh, and also, the trickle down doesn't work? Any profits that happen go to shareholders and CEO's?


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