Larger Surplus Affirms Need to Provision Families
The big news at the Minnesota Capitol is that our state government has a budget surplus for the ninth consecutive year. What was expected to be a $7.7 billion surplus is now up to a record $9.25 billion in excess revenue collection. As can be expected, the debate about what to do with the money has fallen into the usual zero-sum game of income tax cuts versus new spending.
The Minnesota Catholic Conference is proposing we break the Gordian knot and provide direct economic relief to Minnesota’s most important producers—our state’s families. Concretely, this means creating a Minnesota Child Tax Credit that is fully refundable and distributed monthly. A similar federal child tax credit (now expired) raised thousands of children out of poverty.
This call stems from the Church’s social teaching on subsidiarity, which states that “public authorities have the duty to sustain the family, ensuring that it has all the assistance that it needs to fulfill properly its responsibilities. The family does not exist for society or the State, but society and the State exist for the family.” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, no. 214)
Seeing that the people of Minnesota are consistently able to generate surplus wealth for the state, MCC is urging lawmakers to create a permanent fiscal policy that honors the work and societal role of parents who generously sacrifice to raise the next generation.
Minnesota should take the initiative and support families increasingly burdened by the rising costs of living and inflation. People make decisions about whether to have children in part based on the economic outlook, so we should do what we can to remove barriers from family formation.
Every Saint Has a Past, and Every Sinner Has a Future
Even in today’s job market that is desperate for workers, an arrest record can cast a perpetual shadow over a person. Employers often disqualify a job seeker based on his or her criminal history without asking any further questions about the applicant’s rehabilitation.
We must ask whether holding individuals in a state of perpetual punishment for low-level crimes—especially after the judicial system has concluded they should begin rebuilding their lives—serves any positive criminal justice purpose.
In their document, “Restoration, Rehabilitation, and Responsibility” (2000), the U.S. Catholic Bishops encouraged lawmakers to embrace approaches to criminal justice that rehabilitate, heal, and restore, not just punish.
It is based on these principles that the MCC co-sponsors the Minnesota Second Chance Coalition, which advocates for a dignified criminal legal system that promotes healing, repair, accountability, and belonging for individuals, families, and communities. The coalition is calling for the passage of the Clean Slate Act (H.F. 1152), a bipartisan bill that would create an automatic expungement mechanism for certain non-violent, petty criminal offenses.
Lawmakers are attempting to legalize highly addictive sports betting—including making it available through mobile apps. Tell your elected officials we do not need a casino available 24/7 in every living room, dorm room, and high school senior’s pocket!
Send a message to your legislator now by going to MNCatholic.org/actioncenter.