Congressional cuts to safety net programs would hurt thousands of Minnesotans

As Congress debates how to prevent the federal budget from going over the “fiscal cliff,” a new report shows nearly 900,000 Minnesotans would be harmed if lawmakers cut Social Security. According to a report released by the AFL-CIO, 882,408 Minnesotans could be negatively impacted if Congress attempts cuts to Social Security. They include 115,780 people with disabilities and 59,076 children.

Of the 879,145 Minnesotans who get their health care coverage from Medicaid, 422,219 children and 96,039 seniors could be affected if the lame duck Congress makes cuts to Medicaid benefits. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid combined deliver $26 billion per year into Minnesota’s economy. 

As the so-called “fiscal cliff” approaches, members of Congress have suggested cuts to benefits for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid even while calling for renewing tax cuts for the richest 2%. If those tax cuts are renewed, the richest 2% in Minnesota would receive an average of $29,690 in tax cuts, while the rest of Minnesotans would receive an average of $1,370.

The 2012 House Republican budget plan would cut federal support to Minnesota’s Medicaid program by at least $16.9 billion over 10 years.

Minnesota’s working families have been mobilizing and calling on Congress to end tax cuts for the richest 2% and to say no to cuts to benefits for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

“We need to protect Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits and other important programs that support our working families,” said Minnesota AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson. “Retirees, people with disabilities and children shouldn’t have to suffer because some in Congress want to give more tax breaks to the richest 2%. It’s time for the richest 2% to pay their fair share and for our elected officials to strengthen programs that create jobs and rebuild the middle class.”

The Minnesota AFL-CIO is a labor federation made up of more than 1,000 affiliate unions, representing more than 300,000 working people throughout the state.