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Cover Story- The difference between the two: Operating and Capital Budgets
Director's Column- U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute: CLAC chairs national meeting; Institute focuses on next generation of Latino leaders
From the Capitol: Legislative Affairs
Un Orgullo Minnesotano-
¡El Minnesotano! E-Newsletter, Winter 2008
The Difference between the Two: Operating and Capital Budgets
For those who find it quite simple to understand the State of Minnesota’s budget process, they know that next month marks the start of the 2008 Legislative Session where policy-makers will pass the Capital Budget, or also known as the bonding bill. During last year’s legislative session, the Governor and legislators passed the state’s Operating Budget for a total of $34.5 billion, with an additional special session that added another $79 million of general fund spending related to flood relief in southern Minnesota.
For the most part, the State of Minnesota operates on a two-year budget cycle, often referred to as a biennium in state government. The state’s fiscal years begin on the first day of July and end the following June 30 to complete one calendar year; the fiscal year is also designated by the calendar year in which it ends. Each odd-numbered year, such as last year 2007, the Governor proposes an Operating Budget to the State Legislature and during the legislative session, both senators and representatives make ratifications to the proposed budget. These ratifications often take place after committee hearings and testimonies and are resubmitted to the Governor for approval.
The Operating Budget is often referred to as the Biennial Budget, since the budget is for a two-year period. As some might notice on the headlines or in newspapers, the budget includes funding for state expenditures in health care, education, roads and bridges, technology, public safety, natural resources, agriculture, and economic development to name a few. Additionally, the Biennial Budget includes dollars to state agencies, such as the Departments of Health, Education, Agriculture, as well as smaller units like CLAC and other boards and commissions. The budget also includes funding to local units of government that includes cities and counties throughout Minnesota.
In February 2008, or in even-numbered years, the Governor will propose what is called Supplemental Budget revisions to the already approved Biennial Budget. These revisions typically fund more programmatic-related activities; they are acted upon by the Legislature for review and then submitted back to the Governor for approval. Moreover, the Governor will propose the state’s Capital Budget or the bonding proposal in February.
What is a Capital Budget? This budget typically includes financing tangible and public assets, such as land acquisition for public use; and repair, renovation, and construction for state-owned facilities, such as schools, bridges, convention/civic centers, prisons and other capital assets through the issuance of state general obligation bonds.
In short, Capital Budgets are funded from various funding sources. In order for the state to fund projects, the state acquires debt by selling off general obligation bonds, also known as G.O. bonds, which includes general fund and trunk highway fund supported bonds. The state then pays off the principal and interest back from selling these bonds through revenues generated by taxes.
It is also important to note the significance of the state’s Department of Finance. Each year in November and February, the department prepares forecasts of state revenues and expenditures. The forecast information is used by legislators and policy analysts to ensure that the approved budgets remain on track and most importantly in balance.
This past November 2007 forecast issued by the Minnesota Department of Finance listed the 2008 Capital Budget of $645 million in projects funded with general fund supported bonds.
The table below shows the composition of previous Capital Budget years.
For the latest budget facts and figures, or to monitor the progress of the 2008 Capital Budget Year, go to www.finance.state.mn.us.
U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute: CLAC chairs national meeting; Institute focuses on next generation of Latino leaders
From Delaware to Idaho to South Carolina and all throughout the Midwest, Latino organizations and leaders from across the country will meet next month for the 26th Annual Conference of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute. Over 6,000 participants representing hundreds of cities in 40 states and approximately 1,000 affiliated groups and organizations will come together in Chicago, Illinois to address leadership development and policy issues affecting the Latino community.
According to Cesar Moreno, USHLI Associate Executive Director, “The purpose of the conference is to bring awareness of the different issues that impact Latinos in the U.S., such as health, financial security, education, and immigration reform.”
The conference also trains a broad cross section of Hispanic leaders by promoting education and unity, opportunities for advanced leadership skills development, and creates a new generation of public service leaders based on the values of cultural pride, integrity, and empowerment.
Last summer, CLAC attended a USHLI forum that hosted various national Latino/Hispanic state councils, commissions, and advisory groups. The objective of the forum was to bring together Latino leaders from across the country to inform one another on the different policy issues that impact the Latino community in each state. The forum also provided an opportunity for directors and board members to share best practices in civic engagement and legislative affairs. During this year’s conference, CLAC will chair a series of meetings and lead discussion on organizational empowerment, community affairs, and legislative priorities.
For over 25 years, the USHLI has developed into one of the most successful Latino organizations in the country by organizing and conducting nonpartisan voter registration and leadership development throughout the U.S. The mission of the USHLI is to fulfill the promises and principles of democracy by empowering minorities and similarly disenfranchised groups by maximizing civic awareness and participation in the electoral process.
“The USHLI has been a driving force to gather and promote Latino leadership throughout the country,” states Sonia Mayo Hohnadel, CLAC Council Member who represents the 7th Congressional District of Minnesota. “The Institute helped open my eyes that as a Latina I had a responsibility to help my community; I officially received my campaign training at the USHLI before being elected to public office in Moorhead, Minnesota.”
With a focus on Latino leadership development, the USHLI supports two leadership components: advanced leadership and student leadership. The advanced leadership component includes several programs, such as the Grassroots Leadership Development program, Candidate Training and Campaign Management program, and the Institute of Public Policy Studies. These programs are designed for public officials, community leaders, and young Latino professionals with interests in civic engagement and public policy.
The other component is student leadership which includes four programs; two programs geared toward high school students and two programs for college students. At the high school level, Project SED (Students for an Educated Democracy) and the Leadership and Educational Policy Studies program focus on electoral politics and education policy. For college students, the Collegiate Leadership Development program is designed to focus on how to formulate, exercise, and influence university policies; the SALSA (Strategic Alliance of Latino Student Associations) project emphasizes networking between Latino college students and high schools students and focuses on recruiting more Latino high school students for college.
CLAC’s Legislative Recommendations 86th Legislative Session
The Chicano Latino Affairs Council is in its 30th year of carrying out its charter as an advisory council for the Governor, the legislature, and state and local agencies on public policy recommendations for the state of Minnesota and the Latino community.
In a special meeting held in December 2007, CLAC’s Board of Directors approved the Legislative Agenda of the Council for the 86th Legislative Session, containing a series of recommendations in five focus areas: education, health care, housing, economic development, and immigration. Additionally, due to the necessity of fostering an informed dialogue around the issue of immigration in the state, the Board supported a statement on immigration addressing the importance of continuing the discussion of policy reform at the federal level through proper channels, advising a comprehensive immigration reform that takes into account the contributions of immigrants locally, while respecting the human and civil rights of immigrant families. Finally, the Board also approved a policy brief that provides recommendations to the Legislature regarding ways to understand and reduce the performance gap of Latino students in Minnesota.
Regarding the legislative agenda, the process of drafting the recommendations comprised three participatory phases. First, needs were identified based on the input provided by community leaders and participants in several towns visited in Greater Minnesota during last summer and fall. Parallel to this effort, secondary research was done to update data relevant to Latino communities in Minnesota in each one of the strategic areas mentioned previously. Due to the multiplicity of issues faced by Latinos in the state, and the importance of each area, it was necessary to prioritize some of them; keeping in mind that these issues are intertwined and need to be tracked in a comprehensive way. The third step included a Board survey based on the community input and research, providing a chance for board members to help the staff prioritize the main areas and subareas. The survey informed the board about data regarding each one of the main problems identified, advised on the desirable outcomes, and offered a range of recommendations about the actions to undertake to start addressing the issues. The survey served as an important guide in preparing a draft agenda with actions and recommendations in each one of the above referenced policy areas.
As part of this process, CLAC’s staff worked with members of the Board’s Legislative Committee who provided useful insights and recommendations to refine the contents. With the Legislative Committee’s important feedback, staff presented a final edited version to the Board at large. The legislative agenda approved by the Board lists the main issues to address the gaps still prevalent in the Latino community in the state. For more detailed information, click here: Legislative Recommendations
With this new agenda in mind, staff is going to be meeting with legislators, in particular with chair of committees in the area of Education, to present CLAC’s recommendations during the legislative session that is set to start on February 12 and May 18, 2008.
The following table summarizes the highlights of the legislative priorities for the 86th Legislative Session:
In regards to the Council's immigration position statement, CLAC understands the relevance of this topic for the state and rural towns that have seen an increase of immigrants and refugees from different parts of the world in recent years. More over, CLAC acknowledges immigrant contributions to the survival and economic revitalization of many rural towns. The Council strongly endorses instituting a comprehensive immigration reform policy that is nondiscriminatory and consistent with American laws and values. The Council encourages an informed and open dialogue to address issues around the U.S. immigration system. Additionally, it promotes awareness around the contributions of immigrants to the state’s economy, culture, and society; and to ensure Minnesota is a welcoming state with a future of strength and economic competitiveness resulting from its vibrant and diverse social capital. CLAC suggests that immigration enforcement be undertaken by the federal government because this is a national issue that needs a unified and consistent policy. Local regulations might have counterproductive effects on the economic and social viability of Minnesota, including an increased risk of racial profiling of communities of color, discriminatory practices, law suits, and loss of economic productivity, especially in rural areas. For more information on immigration, click here
In the next newsletter this coming spring, we will provide our readers with an update of the main legislative actions at the Capitol during the current session and the implications for Minnesotans and the Latino community.
Educational Highlights from the Community Visits to Greater Minnesota
December 2007 concluded the CLAC pilot program of Community Visits. Following intense planning and logistics, CLAC undertook the visit of 6 distinct Latino communities in greater Minnesota. These six communities (in order visited) include Worthington, Willmar, Moorhead, Austin, St. Cloud and the Mankato/St. James areas. The aim of this pilot program is twofold. First, CLAC attempts to authentically gather the voices of the Latino community in greater Minnesota; with this valuable CLAC generates reflective and meaningful policy recommendations for the state legislature. The data gathered in rural Minnesota was also integrated with Latino input within the Metro area. While CLAC focuses in reporting policy recommendation within the scope of five themes (health, housing, economic development, immigration and education) the community visits from greater Minnesota almost always turn to Latino educational concerns.
While the challenges of empowering and educating Latinos are significant, this article highlights two of the most effective educational programs encountered during the various CLAC visits. These experiences served to underscore best practices in motivating Latino students to educational success.
Near the end of our meeting, I asked Principal Bergstrom for particular policy recommendations. He vividly leaned into us and said “yes, please tell the legislature that we have to own these kids, all of these kids are our kids and we are going to give them permission to succeed”.
The new Minnesotano generation coming into its own in this state exists in a state of educational tension. In all six communities, students have reported in various ways that what they want more than anything in their education is someone to motivate them to success. Principal Bergstrom’s actions echo a best practice of educational success through coaching, motivating and encouragement that translates into effective motivation for Austin students.
A second way of motivating Latino students to success is through leadership mentorship programs. Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter sponsors the Chicano/Latino Youth Leadership Institute. This leadership program, coordinated by Veronica Alba and Evelyn de la Rosa, provides direct mentorship support to St. James and St. Peter public schools.
During the CLAC visit to St. James, the CHYLI program permitted CLAC interaction with over 25 high school students. These students were active, engaging, intellectually curious and committed Latinos seeking higher educational opportunities. In short, they are leaders in training. Leaders which Minnesota welcomes!
Following this visit, CLAC has arranged for a group of St. James students to meet with various legislative leaders at the end of January. (CLAC had previously arranged from students from Austin to visit legislators in October of 2007).
It is our hope that by stressing educational benefits for Latinos, many more concerned constituents will step forward in the coming years to advocate and represent Minnesota’s growing Latino community as we al pitch in to continue to make Minnesota great!
A Closer Look at Efren Maldonado
WEST ST. PAUL, Minn. – Freshly arrived from Puerto Rico 10 years ago, Minnesotano Efren Maldonado has always known that he wanted to work in the areas of public health and tobacco prevention. In a recent interview, Efren recalled the grave disparities in tobacco use in minorities here in Minnesota. As a Community Health Specialist for the Dakota County’s Health Prevention Unit, Efren coordinates community efforts in gathering pledges for smoke free homes and cars. In this outreach, Efren focuses his efforts with Latinos, University and High School students and persons of low-income status. He actively encourages and supports Latinos towards this pledge as well as referring those interested to various tobacco quit plans.
In his efforts, Efren coordinates an Advisory Group of 10-12 members of various backgrounds (professionals, faith-based organizations and community service organizations) who assist in developing effective and competent strategies for diffusing the prevention promise.
Before working for the City of West St. Paul, Efren completed a two year fellowship at Leadership Institute for the Advocacy and Advancement of Minnesota Priority Population (LAAMP). This program is sponsored by ClearWay Minnesota and serves to empower minority leaders in tobacco prevention through intensive study and field service. The LAAMP project serves 5 significant minority populations (Latino, African-American, Asian, and the GLBT community).
Efren remembers that “the first year of training involved education in cultural competency, communication, advocacy, grass roots organizing, and grant writing… after that it’s off to the field with mini-grants from ClearWay aimed at creating more community leaders”.
In collaboration with other LAAMP Fellows, Efren’s 2007 Latino project outreach involved the formation of tobacco prevention leaders in Willmar, Northfield, Brainerd and Worthington. The team focused on education, leadership development and resources facilitation.
“Some Latino families still recognize me 10 years after I helped them take the smoke-free pledge and thank me for this prevention it’s one of the best parts of my job!”
When asked about the challenges that confront the Latino community in Minnesota today, Efren quickly comments on the scarcity of Spanish language resources so that minority families will understand the benefits of effective prevention. “The Latino community urgently needs the prevention message” says Efren, “we need to hear more about the benefits of preventing drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse.”
Today you will find Efren acting as a Consultant to Minnesota Institute of Public Health & the Minnesota Prevention Research Center. Efren is an avid enthusiast of the “Walking the Talk” tobacco prevention program in both English and Spanish. You will also see Efren at the Cinco de Mayo events in West St. Paul, School Fairs, and Community Gatherings in Dakota County.
Help us congratulate Efren Maldonado for being this edition's Un Orgullo Minnesotano!
Flan de Coco
This is a seasonal favorite for young and old. Try it as a surprise dessert after diner, a long work week, or for your significant other on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14.
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