Linea Palmisano Defends Controversial Cuts to Racial Equity, Clean Energy

Palmisano says the city is already doing plenty to move racial equity and energy efficiency initiatives forward

Palmisano says the city is already doing plenty to move racial equity and energy efficiency initiatives forward

One of the Minneapolis City Council's staunchest supporters of budget cuts says she has an elderly widow in her ward who needs a part-time job to pay for her skyrocketing property taxes.

"Yesterday I received an email from a woman named Lenore who is in her 70s," said southwest Councilwoman Linea Palmisano on tpt's Almanac program Friday night.

See also: Minneapolis Slashes Funding For Clean Energy Partnership Before Celebrated Initiative is Launched

"She's a widow living in her home that she has lived in for 45 years. Her property taxes every year are more than she paid for her home, and at age 70-something she is going back to work to try to pay for property taxes."

Palmisano also said that while door-knocking on the campaign trail she encountered people in her affluent southwest ward who pay $60,000 per year in property taxes.

"I would say property taxes were the number-one concern voiced by people during the campaign. Property taxes and affordability of people being able to age in place in their homes is of paramount importance," she told City Pages.

The rookie councilwoman stressed she still stands for racial equity and reducing energy use despite supporting funding cuts to the One Minneapolis Fund and Clean Energy Partnership.

Palmisano pointed out there is already ample funding for numerous racial equity initiatives in the budget, and funding for programs doesn't have to come from the property tax levy.

"The reality is the budget does a lot to move forward on equity. One example of that is my support of moving $4 million into the Affordable Housing Trust Fund."

"It's not about if we're going to fund them, by the way. It's about how. If we can find $10 million to shift into the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, we can find that little bit of extra money internally."

As for the Clean Energy Partnership, Palmisano raised doubts over the effectiveness of spending $75,000 to hire an outside consultant to help the program get up and running.

"I got beaten up on the campaign for energy. People wanted to paint me as the candidate with the windmill on her head. I'm here to say I value energy-saving initiatives, and let's work on them, but $75,000 in a $1.2 billion budget doesn't show where our values are or are not."

Tonight City Hall will be packed with protesters demanding the $620,000 worth of cuts be reinstated. The budget hearing begins at 6:05 p.m.