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Minnesota Legislature

Hoping to restore FAIM funding

Published (2/24/2012)
By Sue Hegarty
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A casualty of last year’s special session to balance the state budget was elimination of the annual $250,000 to fund the Family Assets for Independence in Minnesota program which provides education, counseling and a matching savings account for low-income wage earners.

Hoping that the February budget forecast will enable a supplemental budget, Rep. King Banaian (R-St. Cloud) sponsors HF2062, which would restore $500,000 in FAIM funding for fiscal year 2013. The House Health and Human Services Finance Committee held the bill over Feb. 16 for inclusion in a possible committee omnibus bill. The forecast is expected to be released Feb. 29.

“I’d like you to consider if there is a supplemental budget … that this would be a priority in what you decide to restore,” Banaian said.

The program is being funded through the General Fund, but alternative funding from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families would be another option, according to Pam Johnson, research and member strategies manager for Community Action Partnership.

Members showed bipartisan support for the FAIM program, which matches each dollar of a participant’s FAIM savings account with $1.50 each in state and federal money.

“This was one of the programs out there that was a star in terms of making a difference in people’s lives,” said Rep. Morrie Lanning (R-Moorhead).

A Senate companion, SF1720, sponsored by Sen. Michelle Benson (R-Ham Lake), awaits action by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

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