Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Renters' Credit Shopping Bag

To watch the video about the Renters' Credit Shopping Bag, visit:

Click here for the video

Last year, over 200 people mailed HOME Line letters telling us what they used the Renters’ Credit to buy. This year, we’ve decided to use those stories … and future stories … to fill “Renters’ Credit Shopping Bags” and bring those bags to legislators so they can see why it’s important to their constituents.

HOME Line will make a Renters’ Credit Shopping Bag for each community we get stories from. Here’s what we need from you:

* If you are a renter who gets the Renters’ Credit: Tell us your story. Or, just let us know what you buy with the Renters’ Credit. Let us know if we can use your name (first name, if that’s all you are comfortable with). You can call, write, or email us. Use the contact information below.
* If you are a service provider: Serve as a hub for stories in your local community. Send HOME Line stories as you get them. Or, perhaps you can send us a grocery bag from one of your local stores. We will use that bag to create your community’s Shopping Bag.

Since some of the items in the shopping bag will be of value (and we can’t give gifts to legislators), HOME Line will hold on to the bags, show them to legislators at appropriate times, and make sure the items donated get to a food shelf, homeless shelter, or person in need after the 2010 Legislative Session.

HOME Line’s contact information:

Call: (612) 728-5770 ext 108 Ask for Tracey



3455 Bloomington Avenue

Minneapolis, MN 55407

Email: homework@homelinemn.org

Are You a Renter Residing in Minnesota?

If so, you might already know that your 2009 Renters' Credit tax refunds is decreased from 19% to 15%.
Here are some relevant background:
-For many low to moderate income Minnesotans, the Renters' Credit provide a tax refund on their disproportionally large contribution to property taxes.
-Minnesota's property taxes are regressive such that low to middle income Minnesotans pay a larger share of their income than their higher-income counterparts.
-The Property Tax Refund lessened this regressivity by providing a credit to households whose property taxes are high in relation to their income. Also know as "Circuit Break" for homeowners and the "Renters' Credit" for renters.
-Starting 2004 to 2009, statewide rental property taxes have increase 3 times greater than the Renters' Credit refund.
-28% of Renters' Credit recipients are seniors or people with disabilities. And in the Greater Minnesota counties, over 50% of recipients are seniors or people with disabilities!
-In 2006 over 274,000 low to middle income Minnesota households received an average $550 due to the Renters Credit refund.
-2010-2011, the Governor's proposed 27% Renters Credit reduction which is about $51 million per year thus reducing refunds from 19% of rent paid to 15%.
-Under this allotment, the average Renter's Credit will be reduced by $129 for claims beginning August 2010.

For many Minnesotans, the Renters' Credit is more than just a tax rebate. It is a critical tool to offset the high cost of property taxes paid by renters in these tough economic time.
Click here for more information on this critical issue.

Click here for a calculation of your renter's rebate with and without unallotment.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fabulously Frail

In her's blog-Overlooking the Frail Years- Paula Span recently brought up the "binary" thinking among many us in thinking about our aging years. The binary arises from the thinking that we are either healthy and fine or that we will die. This healthy/death is the binary thought that needs be revamp. In fact, many of us will live much longer and in that process, we are going to have health problems and will need assistance with long term care. It is estimated that more than two-thirds of current 65-year-olds, according to research by Kemper, Komisar & Alecxih (2005), many will at require assistance to cope with ADLs for daily living, either paid help or unpaid, at home or in a facility.
The author argues that it is not the case that we are unable to conceptualize ourselves as aging and being frail but that we opt to not think about it. As a result, we are less likely to plan for long term services and thus encounter less attractive options later on.

CLASS Act (Community Living Assistance Services & Supports)

from Wider Opportunities for Women, our national partner

The CLASS Act aims to provide long-term care services and supports for older adults and persons with disabilities. It was originally introduced by the late Sen. Edward Kennedy and passed in the House under the Affordable Health Choices Act (H.R. 3200). There have been numerous attempts to kill off the CLASS Act. However, it was also recently included in the Senate Health, Educational, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee bill. President Obama supports the inclusion of the CLASS Act in health care reform.

Under this act, community-based and long-term care services and supports would be more affordable and accessible to today's workers and future retirees. It would establish a national insurance program financed by voluntary payroll deductions. Workers have an opt-out option. Those who are eligible would be entitled to an allotted benefit ($50-75 per day) to cover low and medium level of home and community-based long-term services. These benefits would enable over 10 million Americans to have access to much-needed long-term care services. From the Elder Economic Security Index (Elder Index), we learned that home and community-based long-term care can double or triple an elder's overall expenses, forcing elders to spend-down their assets into poverty. The CLASS act would enable elders to receive the long-term care and supports that enable them to age with dignity.