A CLEAR, COHERENT PLAN
CLEAR, COHERENT PLANS ARE RARE IN MINNEAPOLIS POLITICS.
So are leaders like Aswar. Here you’ll find a detailed strategy to address the most crucial issues in our city. You will notice an absence of empty promises, and data and detailed planning to back up each and every point.
POVERTY: THE HEART OF THE PROBLEM
Aswar’s plan begins with a strikingly bold observation: that the oft-stated issues of Minneapolis (lack of affordable housing, educational achievement gap, policy-community tensions, etc.) can be traced to a dark common source: poverty.
Minneapolis has a poverty rate of 25%. This is worse than New York City or Los Angeles. And the poverty in our city exists largely along racial lines. Black, Native, and Somali families earn, on average a mere third of what the average white family earns.
Aswar firmly believes that most people do their best to build a better life for themselves. So what is wrong in our city? The lack of generational wealth.
Centuries of segregation in America have left minority groups without the wealth necessary to launch businesses and grow wealth. Minneapolis is no exception, and is overall much worse than our country on average.
THREE STRATEGIC ANTI-POVERTY INVESTMENTS
To break the poverty in cycle, Aswar’s plan proposes three strategic investments: in early childhood care, in expanding tuition-free higher education, and job creation via local small businesses.
Aswar’s early childhood care strategy involved directly investing in families below the poverty line with young children. These investments will take the form of free childcare provisions, increased prenatal care services, pre-K educational programs, and funding to support families provide for basic necessities to early childhood development. The average expenditure for each of the 25,000 families impacted by the first four years of the program will be ~$5,000.
Aswar knows firsthand how educational attainment can transform a family’s wealth-building capacity. He supports full funding for the MCTC-Augsburg Power of You program, which currently covers educational expenses for hundreds of Minneapolis students from low-income households. Aswar’s increase in investment would make this program available to any Minneapolis Public School graduate who wants it. Additionally, Aswar will negotiate with the University of Minnesota to adopt the Power of You program as well, to expand degree options for students.
The last of the three investments is in job growth. Not reflected in our unemploymeny numbers are the thousands of job seekers who gave up, due to lack of openings in the city. Aswar’s solution to the economic stagnation in large parts of our town is this: create block grants of $10,000 each, and use them as incentives to get local small businesses to expand their staff sizes. These grants can be used by new and established businesses alike, but priority will be given to entrepreneurs from low-wealth backgrounds.
These three policies, implemented by a vigorous mayor and a disciplined administration, can drastically reduce poverty in our city. We are at 25%. Aswar’s plan can realistically reduce that number to single digits in 4 to 6 years.
Two other major policies go into Aswar’s plan: police force diversification and property tax stablization.
Minneapolis’ Police Department is currently composed almost exclusively of officers who live out of the city, have little personal experience in the city, and the department as a whole is grossly unrepresentative of the city’s demography. Aswar, as the civilian head of the police department, will direct recruitment efforts towards the city’s public high schools. By making the route a career in public safety crystal clear, and reinforcing the message that the city needs their service, there will begin the long process of forming a more representative, more understanding, and ultimately, more effective MPD.
Finally, regarding property taxes: Aswar has worked more than any other public figure in the city to highlight the direct link between budget ineffeciencies and skyrocketing rent in the city. The mayor controls the budget, and Aswar is committed to freezing the per capita property tax rate. This means the increasing city burden on renters and homeowners will stop, and rents will stabilize. City Hall has created an affordable housing crisis and Aswar aims to fix it.
WHERE THE MONEY WILL COME FROM
Aswar’s plan will cost under $250m over four years. That is less than 5% of the city budget over four years.
He will pay for it by allocating funds from these 22 resources over four years, for the reasons listed.
+$42,452,000 from Meet Minneapolis. The entire program is to be replaced with leaner marketing approach, funded by hospitality sector.
+$9,640,000 from reducing Regulatory Special Revenue Operating Costs, and pegging to 2020 levels.
+$19,400,000 by capping Traffic and Parking Capital fund to 2016 level.
+$101,800,000 from Public Water Works Capital, by adjusting to 2020 expenditure levels.
+$17,136,000 by reverting Self Insurance Fund Liability to pre-2016 level.
+$10,500,000 by cancelling Convention center plaza and related remodelling projects.
+$1,130,652 by limiting City Coordinator General Capital to 2016 level.
+$12,467,568 by limiting City Coordinator Internal Service Capital to 2016 level
+$5,737,616 by limiting City Coordinator General Contractual Services Bring to 2014 level.
+$4,121,516 by capping City Coordinator Special Revenue Contractual Services at 2014 level.
+$6,722,824 by capping Finance and Property Department Internal Contractual Services at 2016 level.
+$1,337,920 by capping Human Resources Contracts at 2016 level.
+$14,547,568 by capping Information Technology Internal Capital at 2016 level.
+$1,551,476 by capping Intergovernmental Relations Special Revenue Capital Return to 2016 level
+$2,178,340 by capping Civil Rights General Department Salaries at 2016 level
+$760,936 by capping Civil Rights Department General Fringe Benefits at 2016 level
+$198,212 by capping Civil Rights Special Revenue Fringe Benefits at 2016 level
+$2,095,924 by capping CPED Special Revenue Operating Costs at 2016 level
+$12,531,872 by capping Public Works Contract Services to 2014-2016 levels
+$3,659,644 by capping Traffic and Parking Enterprise Operating Costs at 2014-2016 levels
+$12,412,184 by capping Transportation Planning and Engineering Capital Project Contractual Services at 2016 level
+$1,240,000 by matching Mayor and City Council Salaries to average household income (~$50k)
A total of $283,622,252 will be reallocated. The remaining balance after Aswar’s three anti-poverty investments will be used diligently towards other areas of concern.
"I, Aswar Rahman,
American, immigrant, food-stamp-fed,
vow to direct four years of unrestrained energy and
every resource of the Office of Mayor
to fight poverty in Minneapolis,
in all its forms.
This is big, I know.
Let me at it."