Economic Stability for Children and Families in the Workforce
The Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) is an economic safety net for 70,000 children and their parents.
MFIP cash assistance hasn’t increased since 1986.
MFIP provides employment support and temporary cash assistance to children and their parents who are striving toward full-time employment. Many low-wage working parents do not qualify for unemployment insurance when they lose work. Instead, they must turn to MFIP for time-limited help.
The program has eroded under inflation. On average, monthly cash assistance is $348 per family.
Parents enrolled in MFIP struggle to find stable housing, afford gas to get to work, and provide other basic needs for their families. Their children face challenges in their early development and at school.
Prosperity for All supports a $100 per month increase in MFIP cash assistance.
Prosperity for All is a statewide, bipartisan coalition that requests a $100 per month increase in MFIP cash assistance. This is a commonsense proposal that would make an immediate difference for the lowest income families in Minnesota.
- Help children succeed. As little as $1,200 more per year to a family enrolled in MFIP can positively affect childhood brain development, early learning, and educational attainment. Investments in young children accessing MFIP now can reap long-term cost savings through improved child
- Improve employment and family stability. Additional support helps families gain stability and afford housing, basic needs, and transportation—a top cited barrier to employment for parents enrolled in MFIP.
- Support local business. Adds $68 million in consumer-spending power into Minnesota’s local economies.
Download the PDF: 2017 P4A Agenda
Improve the Working Family Credit
The Working Family Credit is a part of our tax code that provides a tax credit for working people with lower incomes, which helps them meet basic needs and support their families. As Minnesota policymakers consider tax cuts this year, they should make lower-income Minnesotans a priority. On average, these Minnesotans pay a larger share of their incomes in state and local taxes than high-income households.
Policymakers should improve the Working Family Credit by:
- Increasing the amount of tax credit that lower-income Minnesota workers and families receive.
- Making more Minnesota workers and families eligible for the Working Family Credit by increasing the amount that they can earn and still can receive the credit.
- Making the credit available to younger workers (ages 21 to 24) who do not have dependent children. These workers currently are ineligible for the Working Family Credit.
About 386,000 Minnesota households would benefit from this proposal, including about 109,500 households who would be able to claim the credit for the first time. Some of the state’s most struggling families would be the biggest beneficiaries. For example, a single parent earning $13,700 per year with two dependent children would see a $531 increase in their credit.
Minnesota’s Working Family Credit is a proven policy that rewards work, makes the tax system more fair to lower-income families, helps working people meet basic needs and support their families, and gets children off to a stronger start.
- Rewards work. The Working Family Credit helps families on low wages get ahead. The credit is only available to lower-income people with earnings from work, and encourages the lowest-paid workers to work more hours.
- Helps children succeed. Research on the federal Earned Income Tax Credit, on which the Working Family Credit is based, has shown long-lasting positive effects for children in families that receive it. These children are healthier, do better in school, and are more likely to go to college and earn more as adults.
- Makes taxes more equitable. The Working Family Credit offsets a portion of the state and local taxes that lower-income working people pay, such as sales taxes. But even with the existing credit, low- and moderate-income Minnesotans on average pay a larger share of their incomes in state and local taxes than high-income households.
Portions of this proposal were included in Governor Dayton’s 2016 supplemental budget. This proposal passed with bipartisan support in both chambers of the Minnesota Legislature as part of the 2016 tax bill. The tax bill was not signed into law due to an unrelated wording error.
Download the PDF: 2017 P4A WFC
Learn more at the Minnesota Budget Project.
Are you enrolled in MFIP?
Prosperity for All is a statewide alliance of organizations working toward a more prosperous Minnesota.