Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges announced a 2018 budget Tuesday that focuses resources on several main priorities: fighting climate change, increasing affordable housing and restoring public trust in the police department while making the city safer.
Under the 2018 proposal, Minneapolis would spend nearly $6 million on clean energy initiatives, a $24 million investment in affordable housing and $4 million in new public safety strategies. It also would increase property tax levies by 5.5 percent.
Speaking from council chambers at City Hall, Hodges touted her budget as a statement of her values.
"When I spoke to you in 2014, in my first budget speech, I quoted then-Vice President Joe Biden who said: 'Don't tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value,'" Hodges said. "And if you look at the investments I've proposed in my budgets each year, my values are crystal clear."
Hodges also made a point of distinguishing between her values and those of President Trump. And she said Trump policies and executive orders, such as the rescinding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program and the crack down on so-called sanctuary cities are antithetical to what she and other Minneapolis residents believe in.
"Donald Trump has already threatened to strip federal funds from cities like ours, which don't share his values," Hodges said, referring to the crack down on sanctuary cities. "Since I have no intention of having Minneapolis bend the knee to an administration that would be cartoonishly villainous if this all weren't so deadly serious, our financial stability is all the more important."
Hodges proposed measures she said would shield not only immigrants, but transgender and low-income people from the administration.
Hodges is running for reelection against a field of 15 opponents. Some of those candidates said parts of the mayor's speech sounded good, but they wanted to wait and see the details which will be contained in the actual document, which is several hundred pages long .
University of Minnesota political science professor Larry Jacobs said Hodges also used her budget address to tout her achievements — something incumbents seeking reelection often do.
"Everything she is doing right now is to advance her cause and try to claim the advantage as an incumbent," said Jacobs. "Namely, pointing to areas where things are improving, where there's been progress and where she's going to take responsibility."
A public hearing on the budget is set for Wednesday. The council's budget committee takes up the mayor's proposal next week.