More than 500 people rallied on the steps of the Minnesota Capitol today to urge full funding for state programs to support low income Minnesotans. The rally was organized by Invest in Minnesota, a coalition of faith, labor, and nonprofit groups.
Gov. Dayton and legislators are wrangling over the state budget down to the wire: if they don't reach agreement on a new two-year budget by midnight tonight, most state government services will shut down.
Cherise Payton came from Duluth to tell the crowd that as a formerly homeless person, she relies on medical assistance to keep her life on track.
"With good health care, I have begun to treat myself with dignity and respect that I deserve," said Payton.
Other speakers urged participants to call their legislators to urge a budget solution that includes progressive taxation.
Mary Cecconi from Parents United said the promise to limit cuts to education is hollow, because other important programs would be affected.
"If you're trying to help kids grow up to be productive citizens who will seed the economy, they don't grow up in a vacuum," said Cecconi. "To succeed in school they need healthy families and communities supporting them."
Rally organizers said they support progressive tax policies for the state.