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CDF-MN Economic Stability Indicator

The Economic Stability Indicator is a project of Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota (CDF-MN) created to illustrate the interaction between wages, public programs, and tax credits/liability in bringing or failing to bring families to economic stability. The dynamic online tool can demonstrate the gap between low wages and a basic needs budget and how public programs and tax credits can fill that gap. Policymakers and legislators can use the tool to evaluate proposed legislative changes to programs and by families to understand better how wages and public programs can improve their pathway to self-sufficiency. 

The goals of the Economic Stability Indicator are to: 

  • Educate policymakers and legislators on how current and proposed legislation and tax policies create unintended consequences such as cliff effects (when wages go up and public program benefits are lost causing families to experience greater economic instability). 
  • Demonstrate how work support programs and tax credits can work together to fill the gap between low wages and basic expenses. 
  • Illustrate the difficult decisions low-income families must make to make ends meet, especially when programs are not fully funded. 
  • Educate families about wage and program interaction so they can make informed choices about employment and program use and pinpoint savings opportunities to help cushion them in their journey to self-sufficiency. 

The programs included in the Economic Stability Indicator are: 

  • Medical Assistance 
  • MinnesotaCare 
  • Advanced Premium Tax Credits 
  • Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) 
  • Energy Assistance 
  • Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) 
  • Child Tax Credit 
  • MN Child and Working Family Credits 
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) 
  • Federal and State Child Care Tax Credits 
  • Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) 
  • Section 8 Housing 
  • School Meal Program 
  • Earned Income Tax Credit 

CDF-MN can use the Economic Stability Indicator (ESI) to analyze proposed policy changes to the programs included on this site. CDF-MN has used the tool in collaboration with policymakers, advocates, and administration officials to analyze dozens of policy proposals, including ACA implementation, minimum wage increases, changes to the Minnesota Family Investment Program cash grant, cuts to food programs, and much more. ESI can illustrate changes to income eligibility, introduction or elimination of program entrance and exit levels, increases or decreases to benefit amounts, or reflect other program rules. 

CDF-MN provides training on using the Economic Stability Indicator to illustrate and analyze the interaction between wages, public work support programs, and tax liability.