The Minnesota Budget Project, an initiative of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, provides independent research, analysis and advocacy on budget and tax issues, emphasizing their impact on low- and moderate-income Minnesotans and the organizations that serve them. Our mission is to provide interested citizens, elected officials and community leaders with timely and accurate information so that they can become more active and effective participants in the state and federal public policy debates.
The Minnesota Budget Bites blog is our way to highlight important information in a very timely way. Our goal is to keep Minnesotans who are interested in fair tax policy and good budget choices educated on the issues. We want you to know, what we know, when we know it.
About the current contributors:
Leah Gardner joined the Minnesota Budget Project in February 2009. Serving as outreach coordinator, she currently supports the Invest in Minnesota campaign uniting faith, labor and nonprofit organizations around fair revenue-raising principles and is working to build awareness around the impact of climate change policy on low-income Minnesotans. Her background in the nonprofit community includes direct service to low-income families, fundraising, public policy and public relations work to support a statewide initiative to end homelessness. Leah holds a B.A. in business from the University of St. Thomas and her M.A. in public policy from the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota.
Nan Madden has been the director of the Minnesota Budget Project since 1999. Nan oversees the Minnesota Budget Project’s research, analysis and capacity-building efforts. She has extensive public policy experience on tax, budget and economic self-sufficiency issues. Nan has an M.A. from the University of Denver and a B.A. from Macalester College.
Scott Russell is the Minnesota Budget Project’s policy analyst. Prior to joining the Minnesota Budget Project in 2009, Scott has been a reporter for MinnPost, The Capitol Times in Wisconsin, and the Southwest Journal/Downtown Journal in Minneapolis. He has extensive and award-winning experience in writing about complex financial issues as a journalist, covering issues such as education funding, public pensions and the nonprofit sector.
Christina Wessel has been with the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits since 2001, working her way through the ranks to become deputy director of the Minnesota Budget Project. Christina is active in monitoring state legislative activity, lobbying on key public policy and budget process issues, providing analysis on various tax and budget issues that impact low- and moderate-income Minnesotans and communicating this research and analysis to a broad range of audiences. Christina holds a B.A. from Wheaton College and an M.A. in Political Science from the University of Minnesota.
Steve Francisco is a former federal policy director for the Minnesota Budget Project. With 21 years of experience working in Washington as a Congressional staffer and lobbyist, he is familiar with a wide range of federal public policy issues. Steve earned his political science and law degrees from the University of Minnesota.
Katherine Blauvelt is a bona fide tax geek. She served as the Minnesota Budget Project’s policy analyst from 2007 to 2009, analyzing both federal and state tax and budget issues. She has a background in both community organizing and policy research. Katherine earned a Masters in Public Policy at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor and her B.A. from Oberlin College.
Beth Haney, a freelance project manager and research consultant, has worked with the Minnesota Budget Project on special projects related to the 2009 Minnesota Legislative Session. Formerly, she was the director of research and outreach at the Minnesota office of the Children’s Defense Fund. She also did a few stints in Minnesota state government, and has served on the board of directors of several local nonprofits. Beth earned her Ph.D. in Social Psychology at the University of Minnesota and her B.A. at Wesleyan University.