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NEW BUDGET PRIORITIES: A Candidate's Call

by: scott_laugenour

Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 15:07:20 PM EDT


(Scott's too modest: you'll be making more than "a little history" by working on behalf of him and other GRP candidates over the next 99 days. One "small" win picks the lock--and once the barn door's open, we really shall overcome.   - promoted by michael horan)

48% REDUCTION IN LOCAL AID?  A CALL FOR NEW BUDGET PRIORITIES

"We don't give you very much," the Republican state senator candidly told the people of Tolland on July 10, standing with the Democratic incumbent representative of the 4th Berkshire District on the podium.  It was unclear if he was talking specifically about the FY 2011 budget that had been approved on June 24 or if he was speaking generally about business as usual in the legislature.  The town was celebrating its 200th birthday and the mood of the day was festive.  If the senator was looking for a laugh, the humor was lost on many.

Democrats are not in a position to counter the statement.  They're in control.  The official Massachusetts Democratic Party line, which has been dutifully repeated by incumbents and loyalists, is that there's nothing that can be done about the painful cuts in the budget.  But even as the incumbent legislature and Governor perpetuate an unfair tax system and cut essential services and local aid,  they also continue the wasteful give-aways and tax breaks for large campaign donors.  Currently in legislative conference committee are proposals to enact new corporate tax reductions of over $140 million/year, on top of the $1.4+ billion in many other give-aways that are routinely renewed.  Some of us are feeling the pain.  Others are getting a free ride.  It's a deliberate choice.

Meanwhile, recent headlines in the Boston Globe (July 23, 2010) report a 25% increase in personal bankruptcy filings in Massachusetts.
 

scott_laugenour :: NEW BUDGET PRIORITIES: A Candidate's Call
The party in power is responsible for the priorities and favoritism it extends in the budget.

And those priorities are very questionable.  During the last ten years, Local Aid has been cut 27%, which is effectively a 48% cut when adjusted for inflation.  Environment & Recreation has been cut by 44%, and Education by 17% with inflation adjustments.  Local property taxes are being relied upon to fund more than they were ever designed to fund and they represent an ever-increasing share of our town's budgets.  These unsustainable trends were in place even before the economic collapse we are suffering through.

Republican and Democratic governors and legislators have long played variations of the same pay-to-play game, a business-as-usual approach which undermines the health of our communities.  The FY 2011 budget was prepared in private by a hand-picked committee. Legislators were given only 24 hours to inspect it before voting on it.  Meaningful public input was avoided.

But there is one chance to get them to listen: go into the voting booth on November 2 and vote for someone who isn't part of the system.

Isn't it time for a new party that does not accept the dictates of corporate contributions in its policies?  Isn't it time to firmly tip the scales towards a secure green future?  The green political approach that I and others represent will be different:  fair tax policies that reverse the regressive burden; a rejection of 'trickle down' economics and 'trickle down' health care; direct effective investment in essential public services for communities, individuals, and businesses; responsible and sustainable stewardship of our infrastructure and the environment; promotion of green jobs in local economies, where ownership, wages, and profits are local.  These are all within our reach now.

If you agree that it's time for a new party, you can make a little history by voting for me in the 4th Berkshire District or by supporting other Green-Rainbow candidates.

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