MPR’s Jessica Mador provides some insight into the impact of Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s trimming of the Minnesota Renter’s Credit as part of the effort to balance the state budget without raising taxes.
That’s Robert Zozaski, who lives in subsidized rental housing in Breckenridge. He’s 80 years old, a veteran of the Korean War and he’s thinning his packaged soup to help make ends meet. The credit goes to about 270,000 low- and moderate-income Minnesotans.
Here’s what Jess wrote:
The credit is essentially a tax refund intended to offset renters’ share of property taxes. (Many) homeowners get one, too but the governor’s proposed cuts would only affect renters.
The refund goes to people who earn about $50,000 or less, but more than half of the households make less than $20,000 a year. An estimated 28 percent are seniors and people with disabilities.
Eighty-year old Korean War veteran Robert Zozaski lives in subsidized rental housing in Breckenridge. Between his Social Security check and his pension from the VA, he gets by on about $930 a month. He says he saves money by eating lots of ramen noodles.
“The ramen noodles and chicken flavor, I like. One package of that, I double the water so I make two meals out of it. What I do is I buy them by the case when they are a dime a pack. That’s $2.40 a case. That’s quite a few meals,” he says.
Zozaski has a heart condition. Luckily, his medications are paid for by the VA, but he worries about the sodium in the ramen and other cheap foods he relies on but says it’s all he can really afford.
He’ll have to figure out a way to save even more money if he loses his Renter’s Credit, which usually puts a few hundred dollars extra in his pocket. He uses it to buy new clothes and pay a county home health aide, who comes twice a month to help with laundry and chores.
Zozaski says he doubts the governor and lawmakers know what it’s like to live on ramen.
The governor’s budget would cut the Renter’s Credit by more than a quarter – about $51 million a year, a deeper cut than he has proposed in the past.
Are you receiving the Renter’s Credit? Tell us about your budget.
On his weekly radio show today, Gov. Tim Pawlenty said the cut that his fellow politicians have been most vocal about, is the end of the rebate for political contributions, according to the Pioneer Press’ Rachel Stassen-Berger.