“Is Minnesota House Republican Leadership Racist”
Now that we have your attention, this question must be asked, because African Americans in Minnesota experience the worst economic inequalities in the entire country, yet House Republican Leadership refuse to allocate any portion of the $900 million state budget surplus to address the needs of African Americans, and refuse to make themselves available to meet with African American leaders to discuss these issues.
Let’s examine the facts:
- According to U.S. Census data, Minnesota African Americans median income declined by 14% between 2013 and 2014 – the only ethnic group in Minnesota to experience a decline in income – putting White median income almost 140% higher than Black median income ($27,000+ versus $64,000+).
- African Americans in Minnesota rank 51st – dead last – in the entire United States, when combining factors of income, poverty, home ownership and education;
- African Americans contribute significantly to the Minnesota tax base, by paying an estimated ½ Billion ($500M) dollars in taxes in Minnesota each year – so, we’re not asking for a handout; but rather, a hand-up;
- The State of Minnesota has a $900 million budget surplus available to address the issue of the gross economic disparity for Minnesota African Americans;
- Governor Dayton has proposed a $100M economic package to address these gross economic inequities experienced by its African American citizens; and, the Minnesota Senate has proposed a $91M economic stimulus package;
- The Republic leadership has allocated zero – nothing – from the state budget surplus to address the economic condition of African Americans;
- The African American Leadership Forum (AALF) has proposed a $75M business stimulus package. This is an issue that both Democrats and Republicans should support.
- Republicans are supposed to be the party of business, particularly small business. Democratic leadership in the House and Senate have met with leaders of AALF to discuss these issues. Yet, not only have House Republicans proposed nothing from the budget surplus, House leadership has refused to make themselves available to meet with leaders of AALF to discuss these issues, despite repeated requests.
- Republicans have joined with Democrats to take care of the economic distress experienced by the Iron Range miners, which we applaud.
Why are House Republican leaders ignoring the needs of their African Americans citizens whose economic circumstances are worse than the miners – even refusing the basic courtesy of meeting. Is House Republican leadership racist, or have African Americans become the latest political football to be tossed about in the political gamesmanship?
Jeffrey A. Hassan, Executive Director
African American Leadership Forum