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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R)

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Monday, September 24, 2007
ST. PAUL – Disappointed by the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency’s (HFA) decision to allocate flood relief based on a household income, State Representative Steve Drazkowski (R-Wabasha) sent a letter to Governor Tim Pawlenty and HFA Commissioner Tim Marx urging them to remove the income restrictions. “Basically, this provision means we are discriminating against those flood victims who do not fall below an arbitrary income level in an afflicted county,” Drazkowski said. “What’s even more irritating is that the Legislature realized this could happen and approved a bill that removed this income requirement, and then watched the department ignore the intent of lawmakers.” “The goal of the Legislature was crystal clear: To help all flooding victims – regardless of income,” Drazkowski continued. “With this income provision, half the households in the area will not receive assistance. That is completely unacceptable.” Under these guidelines, a household that makes more than $87,120 in Olmsted County or $81,120 in Winona or Wabasha counties will not receive a penny of the $16 million allocated for housing relief. Drazkowski addressed this travesty in his letter: Assume two nurses work at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester for identical salaries of $82,000 per year. If one lives in Rochester and had significant damage to his house, he could get up to $23,000 from your agency. If the other lives in Stockton and had her house destroyed, she is eligible for nothing from the money we entrusted to you. Assume two school teachers in Minnesota City each earn $41,000 and had their home destroyed by the floods. Under the regulations adopted by your Agency, they would be eligible for no assistance… but their neighbors with less damage and $1,000 less in household income could qualify for $23,000 from your Agency. Drazkowski requested that the modifications be revised so that disaster relief funding is distributed more fairly among all flooded homeowners. “I will continue to work with the Governor’s Office and the Housing Finance Agency until the needed modifications are made,” Drazkowski said. “As I told Commissioner Marx, the first frost is only weeks away for all of our flood victims, not just half of them.”
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