Although this current budget proposal has made historic strides to invest in Minnesota’s communities of color by centering equity in its approach, there are some who believe it hasn’t gone far enough.
Dr. Bruce Corrie is a professor of economics at Concordia University in St. Paul and has roughly 30 years of experience in the field. Last month he released his analysis of the administration’s budget proposal in relation to African Americans and African immigrants, Latino, Asian, and Native American communities, or ALANA as he refers to them in his analysis.
Dr. Corrie stated that while there was plenty of information on how agencies such as the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and the Department of Human Services (DHS) would enforce equity through this budget, there were other departments such as transportation that had little to no information regarding closing the gaps in disparity.
He also states that the two-year window that the budget operates on is not enough to fund the initiatives that are needed to uplift ALANA community members and that long-term investments need to be made now with the surplus still available.
“If we don’t do anything now in this historic moment when we have the resource, we’ll never do it,” Dr. Corrie said. “Now is the moment to do things and to do it in an intelligent, long-term sustaining manner so that we can say that when it came to us, we rose up to the challenge to address the remedy and the inequalities of the past.”
Part of Dr. Corrie’s proposal is a $350 million development and flexible capital fund to support wealth building within communities of color who have been historically excluded from the job and housing markets.
Another point of investment Dr. Corrie highlighted in his report was $30 million toward cultural districts and corridors in the Twin Cities and around the state to financially empower entrepreneurs while serving as a culturally enriching experience for all Minnesotans.
Though Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan hadn’t come across Dr. Corrie’s report, her response to the criticism that the budget hadn’t gone far enough or was too limited in scope was that this budget proposal was just the start.
“This is just the beginning of the work that we have to do. I think we have set the tone over the past year of community engagement,” she said. “There’s more that we can do and we’re eager to do it.
“I also know that this is a first volley, like every budget that the governor and I put out. Then we look at the legislature to get it done. There’s more opportunity for us to do this work.”
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