Today I delivered my 2018 Budget Address, entitled “Investment Fuels Action” You can read it below, or watch it here.
This budget makes significant investments in sustainability, housing, public safety and community trust, and in preserving our status as a progressive, welcoming, inclusive city. It is a reflection of our shared values. Those values drive investment, investment builds the foundation for action, and our actions as a city get results for the people of Minneapolis. That’s our responsibility as leaders, and as government.
Thank you, Madam President, and colleagues.
As elected officials, we traffic in words. And that’s important. We use words to share our values, our policies, our expectations, our visions for a shared future. We use words to celebrate our victories, and sometimes to offer support in tough times. Words matter.
But words alone can’t create change. Even the loftiest speech just sails into the ether if it isn’t tethered to real action. Words are the easy part. It’s important for leaders of all stripes to communicate clearly and transparently, but it’s even more important to see those words become action that has a positive impact in people’s lives. That’s our responsibility as leaders, and that’s our responsibility as government.
When I spoke to you in 2014, in my first budget address, 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.”
And if you look at the investments I’ve proposed in my budgets each year, my values are crystal clear.
I’ve invested in growing our power to combat climate change.
I’ve invested in getting us closer to the day when all of our residents have a home in our growing city.
I’ve invested in creating a system and culture of policing that is working toward the day when every single person in Minneapolis feels safe and is safe in every neighborhood in our city, including communities of color that have suffered the effects of a frayed relationship with law enforcement for more than a generation.
And more recently, I’ve invested in making sure Minneapolis is in a position to stand up to a president who attacks so many of our diverse communities, our identity as a people and a city, and our very democracy.
These values and investments will be the main themes of my address today, and it’s not hard to connect the dots here—our values form the foundation of our budget, our budget forms the foundation for our actions, and our actions get positive results for the people of Minneapolis.
We are a great city, but as I’ve said many times over the past four years, we have work ahead of us to make Minneapolis into something more than great.
The good news is that we’ve built a solid foundation for this work, and will continue to do this work—not just with words, but by putting real investment behind our values, and taking real action to realize our vision for One Minneapolis.
The greatest obstacle to realizing that vision continues to be the inequities in our city between white people and people of color and indigenous people. I was elected—and this City Council was elected—to eliminate those intolerable gaps. The fight for racial equity is my life’s work. And as mayor, I’ve kept it at the forefront of our work in Minneapolis.
It’s no longer sufficient to talk about equity as a program that we do. Under my leadership, and through investments we’ve made as a city, we’ve made significant progress in embedding equity into how we operate in Minneapolis. We’ve put resources behind that—not just words—and we’ve gotten results.
That’s why there’s no one section on equity in this speech, or in this budget. It’s foundational to all of our work. Because unless we’re embedding equity in everything we do, we’re not doing it.
It is not hyperbole to suggest that our changing climate represents the single greatest threat to our city and our planet—the current occupant of the White House notwithstanding (we’ll get to him in a moment). So far, 2017 is the second-hottest year on record, behind only 2016. Before that, 2015 was the hottest year ever, replacing 2014 for that dubious honor. Notice a pattern here? Climate change is real, and is already wreaking havoc on our world. We only have to look as far as Texas and Florida to see the damage that climate change is doing. We send our hearts, our prayers, and when asked, our resources to those affected by the recent storms.
And especially since the federal government is unlikely to do much about this issue for at least the next three years, cities cannot wait. It is up to cities like ours to lead both the fight against climate change and the work to adapt to it. Minneapolis has long been on the forefront of this effort, and we intend to stay there.
My vision is clear: reducing our emissions and our carbon footprint, helping businesses get cleaner and greener, and advancing the cause of environmental justice.
When Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement, I joined a group of 377 mayors to uphold the goals of that agreement. But that will only work if we have a plan to put our money where our mouth is.
In 2012, in its first year, the Green Business Cost Share program diverted 1,000 pounds of hazardous pollutants out of our air and water. In my first budget address, I didn’t just talk about giving businesses more incentives to operate more cleanly and more effectively: I invested in the Green Business Cost Share program to the tune of $330,000 over the last two years. And in those two years, the program that began by diverting 1,000 pounds of pollutants has now helped divert 100,000 pounds of hazardous pollutants out of our air and water. Our values became an investment, we took action, and we’re getting results.
My previous budgets also invested in residential energy-efficiency programming. Getting efficiency investments like weatherproofing and insulation into homes is the kind of neighborhood-by-neighborhood, block-by-block, house-by-house work that can greatly reduce the energy demand that contributes to climate change.
In both of these programs, Green Business Cost Sharing and Residential Efficiency, we’ve demonstrated how to do this work successfully. The time is right to scale up our efforts.
And thanks to the good work we’ve been able to build with the Clean Energy Partnership, we know how to find the resources to expand our critical climate work. My budget proposes we raise our utility franchise fees by a half percent, which would raise over $2 million in 2018 alone to ensure we have significant, predictable funding to move the dial on our climate impact.
In 2018, I propose this revenue help the Green Business Cost Share Program eliminate 5,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions—equivalent to taking 1,000 cars off the road next year—and helping both the environment, and each business’s bottom line.
This revenue will also support the launch of a Residential Energy Benchmarking program. It will double the size of our overall benchmarking operation, and give us even more information to better target our energy-efficiency work.
Earlier this year, we took a huge step forward toward achieving 100-percent renewable-energy use for the City’s operations by entering into an agreement with Xcel to purchase 50 percent of the City’s electricity use through their Renewable Connect program. The increased franchise-fee revenue will help cover the added cost of that commitment as well.
And because we invest in ourselves, others have made the decision to invest in us. The Rockefeller Foundation named Minneapolis one of its 100 Resilient Cities—which allowed us to hire the city’s first Chief Resilience Officer, who will help us think big about the interconnection of all the challenges and opportunities facing our city.
One of those opportunities is to continue our work in environmental justice. People and communities of color have borne the brunt of the industries that led to climate change, and we have to make treating those impacts a top priority. We have done some strong work on behalf of people already, particularly related to lead and asthma.
Right now, an unacceptable reality in our city is that the most effective lead detectors in too many of our homes are our children, particularly children of color. In 2015, I led the City’s successful effort to win a Promise Zone in Minneapolis, which has led to millions of dollars of resources for lead abatement in North Minneapolis. Last year, 200 homes received lead mitigation, up from 25 homes in 2014.
Earlier this year we reached an agreement to move Northern Metals out of the Northside, and through that agreement invested in asthma prevention in the neighborhood, as well.
The additional investment in the Clean Energy Partnership franchise fee will allow for community input into how we can best use those dollars for the biggest possible impact on environmental justice in our city.
Overall, I’m proposing a total investment of nearly $6 million in clean energy, cleaner businesses, more efficient commercial and residential spaces in our city, and to ensure we’re not ignoring communities that have faced a disproportionate share of environmental vulnerability. That’s a 60 percent increase over the budget we inherited in 2014. That increased investment has allowed us to take real action, and that action has led to real results.
Minneapolis is growing faster now than we have at any time since the gilded age. Of course, the gilded age of the 1920s was a time of rampant expansion of crippling income inequality—something we cannot and will not replicate in our time, and in our city. We need our growth to be inclusive, and housing is a major component of that.
Let’s talk about displacement, a word I’m using instead of gentrification. The core of what people mean when they talk about gentrification is people who’ve spent their lives and resources to make a neighborhood desirable—particularly low-income people—who can no longer afford to live in those neighborhoods and are displaced. So because words matter, and because “gentrification” is too imprecise a term for this issue, I’ll call it what I mean: displacement.
There’s a tension in Minneapolis between development and displacement. It’s clear that we need development, because with a rental vacancy rate hovering around 2 percent, in a city where 53 percent of the housing is occupied by renters, rising rents are a sign of how far demand exceeds supply. There isn’t enough housing, and not the right mix of housing in the right places, to meet all the needs of a rapidly growing city that more and more people choose to live in.
The challenge that we face is twofold—finding ways to retain our current supply of affordable places to live, and finding ways to add to that supply, without pricing longtime residents out of the neighborhoods they’ve invested in for years, and sometimes generations.
There’s also a persistent disparity in homeownership rates in our city, with a 35-point gap between white families and families of color. This gap has a deep and long-lasting impact on our city—homeownership provides long-term benefits across generations, and if communities of color don’t have access to that kind of generational wealth, they aren’t benefitting from the growth of our city.
All these challenges underscore the instability some of our residents face in finding and keeping a fair, affordable place to live in Minneapolis. We’ve seen other cities fail to act or act too late to address these problems. Minneapolis can’t make the same mistake.
My vision for housing in Minneapolis includes a range of high-quality housing options affordable to people at all incomes, in every neighborhood in our city:
We get to maintain our pipeline to building affordable housing, with a focus on affordability for those at the lowest incomes.
We get to be nimble and shift resources to preserving naturally occurring affordability while construction costs are high in a hot market and those units are at the most risk.
We get to create and fund new tools to establish long-term affordability in areas most vulnerable to displacement so that our investments benefit the people who already live there.
We get to provide resources and support for renters facing eviction, substandard housing conditions, or predatory rental-property owners.
And we get to build wealth in communities of color by encouraging sustainable access to homeownership.
Since 2014, my budgets have invested in this vision: over $80 million in housing strategies, over $55 million for affordable housing, and over $26 million for homeownership to help build wealth in low-income communities and communities of color. We’re already seeing the results of that investment. It’s built a strong foundation for the action we still get to take.
And I’ve had to innovate along the way. When our Affordable Housing Trust Fund wasn’t structured to invest in the kind of housing the community said we needed, I pushed hard for a change to that structure, then created and funded the $1 million Family Housing Initiative, which led to the creation of 16 2-3 bedroom units at 38th and Minnehaha, slated to break ground next year.
There is a rising trend of private developers who are converting affordable units into higher-rent units. Because the City’s Trust Fund can’t build enough new affordable units to make up for that loss, last year I budgeted $1.5 million to preserve naturally occurring affordable housing.
We also laid a foundation for action by investing $1 million in our Minneapolis Homes program last year, committing to developing some of the over 400 vacant lots owned by the City, and offering financing and incentives for low-income homebuyers.
Across these programs, we’ve been able to create or preserve over 2,700 affordable rental housing units just in the last two years. Our investments are getting results, giving more families more housing options.
And we’ve had success with home ownership as well: Our Homeownership Opportunity Minneapolis program provides down payment assistance to low- and moderate-income homebuyers. I’ve included this program in my budgets every year. Last year saw over 100 households getting homebuyer support through the program, 53 percent of which were households of color. That’s over 100 families that now have a place of their own to call home—something they would not have had if I hadn’t made a budget to match our values, and if the City hadn’t invested in those families. That investment led to action, and that action led to a positive change in hundreds of lives.
These are real results, but we have far to go.
And we’re going to keep investing. I’m proposing $24 million in housing investment in 2018 across a number of programs, including $6.5 million in the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, $1 million in my Family Housing Initiative, and $3.65 million in a Housing Stability strategy that includes preserving existing affordable units, supporting renters, supporting low-income homebuyers, and creating long term affordability in areas where displacement threatens long-term residents’ ability to stay in their neighborhoods.
The Affordable Housing Trust Fund continues to be an effective mechanism to help the private sector build new affordable units. I propose maintaining the base funding of $6.5 million. At the same time, we also get to innovate and invest in other housing strategies that meet the current and changing needs of our city.
I believe the clear, concrete results of The Family Housing Initiative call for a third year of funding at $1 million, to bring more projects like the Minnehaha Townhomes to life.
I’m also investing another $1.5 million in our Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing program, to help our non-profits buy and preserve more affordable housing across the city so that we can keep people in their homes.
I’m proposing an additional $750,000 investment in the Minneapolis Homes program for next year, which will result in around 30 new affordable homes being built.
To expand the Homeownership Opportunity Minneapolis program, this year, I’m proposing a $500,000 investment in a lease-to-purchase strategy, which will help up to 15 Minneapolis families transition into homeownership next year.
I’m also proposing continued investment to help tenants know their rights, and to offer increased access to legal representation when they feel those rights have been violated. The tenant hotline we support assists 3,000 renter households each year, and just last year it helped prevent over 200 evictions. Thanks to our investment, those families are standing on firmer ground today.
There are also some new investments that I’m proposing we make for the first time in 2018.
As effective as our tools are in building new affordable units, those tools have limitations when it comes to ensuring affordability in the long term, and they aren’t always effectively targeted toward communities facing displacement. I propose investing $1.9 million in a Land Banking Pilot to help buy, repair, and maintain long-term affordability of properties in areas at risk of displacement.
And because displacement can apply just as easily to businesses, I’m proposing investing in a commercial land trust pilot so we can help our small independently-owned businesses stay and thrive, rather than get priced out when markets get hot.
And finally, because the issues we face are vast and complex, I propose we invest in a Housing Stability Specialist position, dedicated full time to ensuring Minneapolis is doing everything we can—including adopting significant zoning reform—to provide housing stability for all of our residents.
All of these investments in housing are in service of our shared goal: ensuring that all of our residents have high-quality housing choices throughout the city, regardless of race or income. These aren’t just dollars on a spreadsheet. These investments get results, and change lives.
PUBLIC SAFETY AND COMMUNITY TRUST
We’ve also made game-changing investments and done a lot of groundbreaking work in policing over the past few years—all toward building a model of policing where law enforcement and neighborhoods share ownership of public safety.
Some of those changes weren’t about money: MPD added positive community engagement contacts as a key metric. And now, citywide, positive police contacts are up 23 percent over this time last year and up 51 percent over two years ago.
As of this spring, every new officer in MPD spends their first 6 months on the job as a beat officer, getting to know the streets and faces of the community, and building relationships and skills that will help them throughout their careers.
But some of the positive changes have required investment—and you’d be hard pressed to find a city or a mayor that has invested more in modern policing strategies, and in building community trust, than I have, and we have, in Minneapolis.
I proposed funding for a pilot program that has provided over 1,000 follow-up visits from police officers and family therapists to homes where domestic-violence-related 911 calls were made but no report was filed. Now more survivors of domestic violence know where to turn for resources or help.
We’ve responded to community requests to put more resources behind safety on the Northside, and as a result of that investment, violent crimes in the 4th Precinct neighborhoods are down 14 percent over last year. That’s a clear line connecting investment and results, in a community that’s asked for both.
We prioritized stopping gun violence—because every gun death in our city violates our values, and leaves torn families and community trauma in its wake. And though the raw numbers are still too high, we’re seeing meaningful declines from last year at this time. Gunshot victims are down 20 percent. Gun homicides are down almost 40 percent. And our officers have removed over 680 guns from the streets this year, up over 53 percent from this time last year.
Our Fire Department helps keeps us safe as well, and helps keep us healthy. The increased demand we’re seeing for fire services hasn’t come from fires, but from medical calls. This budget invests in an innovative strategy to help make responding to those calls more efficient. I want to acknowledge Chief Fruetel for his vision, and for setting an example for rethinking how we provide services in the city.
Of course, our work is far from done. I continue to hear from neighbors that they want a change in the culture of policing in our city. All the work we’ve done over the past few years has us on the right path, and in Chief Medaria Arradondo we have a leader of the Minneapolis Police Department who understands both the challenges we get to address and the opportunities we get to seize.
It’s important to fully invest in new leadership, to give it a real chance to thrive. Chief Arradondo was sworn in just last Friday, and I wanted to make sure that his priorities were reflected in this budget, so he didn’t have to wait 12 months of his 17-month term to have an impact on his department’s resources.
So as I prepared this budget, I sat down with Chief Arradondo and asked him about how it could support his values and his vision for the Minneapolis Police Department. He was very clear about two key budget priorities, both of which I fund here. First, he asked for an investment in Community Liaisons—civilians who are embedded in precincts who serve as conduits between the community and the department.
Through collaboration and partnership with MPD, these eight Community Liaisons will help address issues related to community trauma, heroin and opioid addiction, homelessness, and mistrust of government agencies—to name a few. They will be trusted, credible representatives of the communities in our city most affected by crime, including African American, East African, Latino, and indigenous communities. I’m proposing an investment of over $730,000 to activate this strategy.
My budget also continues to invest in community policing. It provides for one new police officer from the General Fund, and shifts two officers from other programs back into the MPD budget, for a total of 3 more officers on the street next year and a sworn complement of 878 officers.
True community policing makes sure officers have time to build relationships, and a larger sworn complement means our officers won’t be stretched, going from 911 call to 911 call.
This budget builds on the investments in community policing of the past three years, where we’ve added 27 sworn officers to our complement, meaning more officers building relationships in more communities. We will take an extra year to get to our goal of 901 sworn officers, a timeline that I have no hesitation in extending to support Chief Arradondo’s priorities in his first year as chief. I listened to our new chief’s values, and invested accordingly.
Chief Arradondo’s second request was to make sure that all sworn personnel in MPD have body cameras—not only those responding to 911 calls, as is currently the case. Accordingly, I propose a three-year investment to get every single sworn member of the Minneapolis Police Department both a body camera and the training that comes with it.
Though I don’t see the ideas as mutually exclusive, I understand the tension in our city—and in our country—between a focus on community trust and a focus on law enforcement. It’s my job, and my promise, as Mayor to make sure that we are moving forward on both.
Initially in this speech, I wanted to talk about investments in community trust and then investments in public safety, but since we’ve done so much to change the center of gravity on public safety to be community and law enforcement working together, that isn’t a distinction we can make credibly anymore. What we’re learning is that you can’t have one without the other, and when you’re doing it right, it’s hard to know where one ends and the other begins.
I’m committed to doing it right. Overall, I’m proposing an investment of over $4 million on new strategies—investments that will both build trust and ensure that everyone feels safe and is safe in Minneapolis. Perhaps the best examples of trust and public safety strategies coming together are happening downtown.
Though crime remains historically low citywide, we’re still seeing far too much criminal activity downtown—and many downtowns across the country are seeing the same thing. At the Cities United convening a couple weeks ago, I talked with other mayors from around the country about their experiences and their approaches. The consensus is clear—we’ll need a diverse set of strategies to make a real difference.
Much of this work is already underway in downtown Minneapolis. The city, downtown businesses, and law enforcement are working together to create a safe and inviting Downtown, from midnight to midnight.
Law enforcement has a role to play, of course, and we’ve dramatically increased the number of beats our officers are walking downtown. Two years ago, I invested in two new beat officers in the neighborhood to focus on these downtown issues. This year, MPD added over a dozen officers on beats, taking our footbeats in the 1st Precinct from 589 last year at this time, to over 5,000 so far this year. That’s a real investment in time and resources in community policing. And since positive contacts are up 51 percent, we know our officers are engaging in the community more than ever.
However, we also know that law enforcement isn’t the only way to increase safety. The Downtown Improvement District is coordinating the outreach and activation efforts for our downtown safety strategies. Six different outreach teams are connecting with young adults and people experiencing homelessness, and helping them access the resources they need. Their Livability Team has made hundreds of social service referrals this summer alone. And our Hennepin Avenue partners are bringing chess, mural painting, live music, and other positive activities to Hennepin and throughout downtown during the day. I thank Shane Zahn from DID; business leaders Jonathan Weinhagen, Steve Cramer, Kevin Lewis, and Melvin Tennant; and Mark Thompson, Jennifer DeCubellis, and Chester Cooper from Hennepin County for helping lead this important work with me.
And to make Downtown safer and more welcoming at night, I’m proposing an investment of nearly $650,000 in our Nighttime Mobility Management Program. This program will add code compliant specialists for traffic to our downtown streets to keep people and traffic moving during late night and at bar close, so people can get in and out of downtown safely. We’re educating downtown businesses on how to work most effectively with off-duty officers, we’re adding public bathrooms, and we’re helping venues communicate better with each other, to help bring a greater sense of order to our late-night scene. This will be done working with businesses downtown.
All of these strategies bundled together—outreach, activation, law enforcement, communication—are the product of significant investment, and the foundation of action we think will yield real results downtown.
Many of our issues with downtown crime can be traced back to a small number of people—particularly individuals who are likely to wield a gun—who have an outsized impact on public safety. Our Group Violence Intervention strategy helps these individuals leave a lifestyle that greatly increases their likelihood of being a perpetrator or victim of violence.
There are now 20 participants in GVI, and it is changing lives. Three just recently got their GEDs. More than half are now employed. And we’ve supported those at the greatest risk in relocating to different parts of the region to help them get a fresh start in a new life. By all accounts, GVI is changing the way they see their futures.
This is another great example of investing in our values to produce results: we value community trust and public safety, so we invested in a strategy to advance both, and we’re seeing a real impact on people’s lives. My proposed budget includes $125,000 to continue the momentum that GVI is building.
Finally, this year I’m also proposing a $200,000 investment to give our downtown community a chance to create for themselves the public safety strategies they’d like to pursue themselves, as we did in Little Earth and on West Broadway this summer.
One last thing: I’ve also proposed funding in this budget for another civilian investigator to look into cases of police misconduct, to meet the demand of people who do have a bad experience to talk to a civilian investigator about it.
That highlights a reality:
When we start from a place that recognizes the humanity in communities and in law enforcement, it’s easier to understand the tension that exists between the urgent need for action, and the fact that culture change takes time. This budget comes from that understanding. The investments I am making in community trust and public safety will strengthen our foundation for action, increase the pace of change, and deliver positive results for all Minneapolis neighborhoods.
Minneapolis now faces a challenge that we could not have conceived of a year ago. Though we are shocked by the damage he does every day of his presidency, we have to anticipate that Donald Trump will remain in the White House through 2020. In the next three and a half years he can wreak untold damage to our country with his authoritarian tactics and his policies of oppression and suppression. Once he was elected, we knew it would be a disaster for our country, but even just six months in, it’s already far more disastrous than we anticipated.
In April, I gave a speech on One Minneapolis in the time of Trump. In it, I outlined the areas we needed to be ready to defend from his administration’s attacks.
He doesn’t embrace the beautiful diversity of our communities, and actively targets communities based on race, sexual orientation, immigration status, ability, and income level. Our Muslim neighbors were some of the first to experience this ugliness with his shameful travel ban. They weren’t the last.
Donald Trump doesn’t want demonstrators exercising our First Amendment rights and making our voices heard. He doesn’t want citizens to vote. He doesn’t want media to report on the truth. He doesn’t want artists to create art that challenges his worldview. That is reflected in so many of his actions—his budgets, his appointments, his executive orders, and his tweets.
In this budget, I’ve proposed investments in strategies to offset these attacks, and ensure that in Minneapolis, these pillars of our democracy will stand, and stand the test of time.
Donald Trump’s latest attack is fresh in our minds: the callous, cruel decision to end the DACA program for immigrants who came to this country without documentation as children—six years old on average. Unless Congress acts, millions of families will be torn apart, simply because of rank xenophobia.
But because of investments we made in our last budget cycle, the City of Minneapolis didn’t have to wait to help young people and families affected by Trump’s sickening decision. After the 2016 election, Council Member Elizabeth Glidden and I recognized the coming danger for our immigrant communities, and we set aside a total $75,000 in funds for the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, Volunteer Lawyers Network, and Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights. We invested, and as a result, more people in the Minneapolis immigrant community know their rights, have accurate information about immigration policy, and have help facing legal challenges to their immigration status.
To build on those investments, I am today proposing the creation of a new Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. This office will lead the charge to preserve our status as a welcoming city for immigrants, by offering access to resources and educational opportunities, and promoting economic development.
Just a few weeks ago, Donald Trump launched another attack on the transgender community, signing a directive banning transgender people from serving in the armed forces. It was a stunning move that hurts people who have chosen to serve our country, as well as hurting our military readiness.
Once again, Donald Trump’s values are not Minneapolis values. Here in Minneapolis, we stand firm with our transgender and gender-nonconforming neighbors. We’ve continually invested in the groundbreaking, first-of-its-kind Trans* Equity Summit, now in its fourth year. At the recommendation of our Trans Equity Council, we are also now in the process of adding gender-neutral bathrooms in 44 city buildings. Those investments matched our values, and will make a difference in the lives of our trans community.
So: to our transgender and gender-nonconforming neighbors—I see you, and I love you. This city is for you.
We cannot have true democracy if people cannot depend on the integrity of our elections. In Minneapolis, voting rights are a treasured value, and we show it whenever we get a chance to go to the polls. And I’ve invested in that value through our elections department, and we’re already seeing results. In the 2016 election, the total number of votes cast in Minneapolis was the highest ever. Seventy-nine percent of registered voters cast a ballot—the second-highest rate ever and ten points higher than the national average.
This year, I am proposing a $1.2 million investment to protect and support the constitutional rights of every single qualified voter in the City of Minneapolis. This includes funds for voter outreach and education, election operations, and specific funds to ensure that Minneapolitans can take part in a fair and well-run 2018 gubernatorial election.
In Minneapolis, we will support journalists and their constitutionally-protected role in bringing truth to our community. In my speech in April, I promised to help Minneapolis be more responsive to data requests from journalists, media, and the public. Now, I’m proposing investments that will make good on that promise.
This budget funds the creation of a centralized Data Practices request system that will provide the public with a one-stop shop for data requests, allow for real-time tracking of those requests, and ensure quicker, more efficient processing of each request. We’re also investing in a process to digitize a large number of paper records, making it easier to both store and distribute that information.
And it also provides funding for one additional data records staff member at the Minneapolis Police Department, since they receive the bulk of our data practices requests.
And as we’ve seen throughout history, art thrives in tough times. Art can be a real source of healing, a source of calls to action, and a means for us to process things that would otherwise be unfathomable. We can therefore see why the arts are so important in the time of Trump.
I’m proud that since 2014, Minneapolis has spent nearly $4 million on our creative economy and the arts. We’ve almost doubled City funding for arts programming over the budget we inherited, including funds for the Creative CityMaking and Creative City Challenge programs.
And because we’ve invested in ourselves, the Kresge Foundation decided to invest in us as well—offering an additional $1.1 million in grant funding this year for our groundbreaking, nationally-recognized Creative CityMaking work.
These ongoing investments have added to the vitality and cultural richness of Minneapolis, and will continue to benefit us as more people look for creative, vibrant places to live and work.
Donald Trump talks a lot about bringing back jobs, but he’s not really standing up for workers. For all his talk about making America great again, so much of what he makes comes with tags that say, “Made in China,” or “Made in Russia.”
We stand up for workers in Minneapolis. And that’s why I’m investing in labor standards enforcement and outreach in the Civil Rights Department, to foster a new culture of compliance for our new pro-worker policies—both earned sick and safe time, and the increases in our minimum wage.
It’s also worth remembering that Donald Trump has already threatened to strip federal funds from cities like ours that don’t share his values. Since I have no intention of having Minneapolis bend the knee to an administration that would be cartoonishly villainous if this weren’t all so deadly serious, our financial stability is all the more important.
Like all of my budgets, this budget isn’t just balanced over one year of spending, it’s structurally balanced over five years. That’s a point of pride for me, and it also makes us resilient. This commitment to financial stability enabled us to successfully tackle big problems in our city, like our debts to our internal service funds, and our closed pension funds that desperately needed reform—restoring the City’s bond rating in the process. Next up is addressing our infrastructure deficit.
A year ago, the City Council and I passed the historic 20-Year, $800 million Parks & Streets Investment Plan. We all knew then that in 2018, we’d need a levy increase of 5.5% to begin to meet the obligation that we all agreed to. That’s exactly what’s in this budget. There should be no surprises here.
Once again, we’re tackling a big problem, and in return, from that investment we’ll see a revitalization of our parks and streets, with racial equity at its heart.
We now have revolutionary street design that prioritizes pedestrians, people with disabilities, cyclists, and transit riders, with equity and sustainability as our core values. We will have approaches to technology and data that will ensure we’re ready for all the big changes in automated driving that are just around the corner.
And we’ll see all of this in every neighborhood across our city, ensuring that everyone gets to enjoy the returns on this investment. Forty percent of all streets being improved in this plan are in racially concentrated areas of poverty. That’s what taking action looks like.
So while we wait to see if the President’s fabled infrastructure plan ever materializes, we’ll be over here, bringing to life some 21st-century infrastructure of our own.
So, as flawed as our democracy may be, with its longstanding issues of inequity and injustice, we value the way our form of government allows us to fight to correct those flaws. And as Donald Trump comes after what we value—our diversity, our right to vote, our artists, our independent media, our workers—I am not just talking about protecting those values. I am investing, and taking action.
I can say with confidence that this budget reflects the shared values of our city.
I know Minneapolis values our individual and collective responsibility to serve as good stewards of our environment and our planet.
I know Minneapolis cares about elevating those left behind by systemic racism and discrimination, so that everyone in our city can be safe, be housed, and be welcome.
I know Minneapolis values our status as a progressive beacon in our country, and will not allow any politician or any president to threaten that.
These proposed investments are born of those values. They’re designed to keep moving us toward our vision for our city, and get real, tangible results for the people of Minneapolis. Words matter, but when history judges our time as leaders, only a handful may remember the very best of our words. The lasting impact of leadership comes from the positive change we make through action.
Madam President and Council Members, today, we get to take another step toward creating a Minneapolis that fully lives into our shared values, invests in what we value, and drives tirelessly toward the results our city needs
Thank you for allowing me to address you today. I submit this budget to you and I ask you for your support.