The Renter’s Credit impact

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.

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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.

Stay tuned

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.

  • Jamie

    Oh my god!! Send this story directly to Dictator Pawlenty! I’ve never cried while reading The News Cut until today.

    In the last few years, my renter’s credit has gone toward necessary car repairs on my now-15-year-old car. Right now my car doesn’t need any repairs, but by August when the credits go out, who knows?

  • tyler

    It seems like an awful lot of Pawlenty’s cuts are affecting people on the bottom end of the ladder…

  • bobbydole

    Whatever this man is just lazy! He should get a job! Tighten his belt, we’re all in a recession here!

  • Jennifer

    I receive the renter’s credit. Honestly, it’s what keeps me able to pay my bills each year.

    I try to save where I can, but my compensation at work doesn’t quite cut it and unfortunately I have some permanent injuries that insurance won’t always cover treatment for (and that prevent me from being able to work a second job to make up the difference). The refund usually closes the gap.

  • momkat

    My 94-year old mom is about in the same boat as the man living on ramen noodles in that she lives on Social Security and a tiny annuity; the two total a little over $900/month. She has 3 children who have her back and pitch in to make sure she’s living comfortably. She will miss the smaller renters’ credit that she has used to buy Christmas presents for her family.

  • colletta

    I have a heart condition and live on less than $700 a month. My out of pocket expenses for the past year were nearly $3000. Now without the 4% less of renters credit that is money I won’t be able to use for my medical bills. The blame game needs to end Gov. and get down to business ……

  • debbie

    My name is Debbie and I live on SSI. I get $674.00 a month to live on.

    I am not able to work due to health problems. And its very hard to make ends meat every month.

    I think its a shame what Gov. Pawlenty is trying to do about the renters refund–to take it away from the people who is poor already like myself.

    He does not need to cut the renters refund by 27%–he needs to leave it just plain alone.

    Gov.Pawlenty needs to give people there renters refund back early every year like in May or June instead of making us all wait till August each year.

    He needs to leave the low income people alone and to focus on other things.

    I can sure tell that he is a Republican.

    Thank God we have a very good President of the United States–MR. Obama–thank God for that.

    thank you for taking the time to read my email.



  • Janice DeGraw

    My eye glasses cost me around 350.00. With a 27% cut in the renters credit I won’t beable to get them. I live on 1204.00 a month and live in low rent apts.

    Don’t this to us Pawlenty.