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Mass. Voters Urge Tax Fairness, Military Cuts to Avoid “Fiscal Cliff” and Protect Vital Programs
WASHINGTON - November 8 - By a three to one margin, Massachusetts voters yesterday sent a clear message to both Democrats and Republicans in Washington about the federal budget crisis and the impending “fiscal cliff”. The Budget for All ballot question passed by 661,033 to 222,514 votes. It calls for no cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or other vital programs; investment in useful jobs; an end to corporate tax loopholes and to the Bush cuts on taxes on high incomes; withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan now; and redirection of military spending to domestic needs and job creation. The question passed by a wide margin in every district and all 91 Massachusetts cities and towns where it appeared on the ballot, ranging from most of Greater Boston to Holyoke to Norwood, Lawrence and Fall River.
“The election was just yesterday, but already Washington elites are talking about a ‘Grand Bargain’ that would cut Social Security, Medicare and programs for the poor with only token tax increases on the rich and cuts to the bloated military budget,” commented Michael Kane, executive director of the Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants. “The reported ‘Grand Bargain’ would cut two and half times the amount raised in new revenues to reduce the federal deficit. The people of our state have voted for an alternative to prevent cuts to programs that benefit us all and to invest in jobs instead.”
The Budget for All passes at a critical moment as the “fiscal cliff” and “sequestration” loom on Washington’s horizon. Unless Congress acts now, automatic cuts in needed programs will go into effect beginning January 1. And even bigger cuts will follow.
“We see there’s a war going on in our own neighborhoods, where people are dying from shootings and killings and issues in our communities. It frustrates residents to see that so much is being spent on the military and overseas instead of bringing those resources right here in our own neighborhoods,” said Mimi Ramos, Executive Director of New England United for Justice.
Adds Laurie Taymor-Berry of Survivors, Inc., “Yesterday’s vote sends a clear message to Senator Kerry, Senator Brown, Senator-Elect Warren, President Obama and other elected officials to deal with the deficit by changing the policies that caused it, not by cutting teachers’ jobs, mass transit, Medicaid and food aid.”
Initiated by over 80 community, peace, labor, and faith groups, the Budget for All is supported by State Treasurer Steve Grossman, State Auditor Suzanne Bump, and Representatives Barney Frank, Mike Capuano, Jim McGovern and Ed Markey, along with 10 State Senators, 18 State Representatives, and 15 city councilors.
The Budget for All Coalition is gearing up to expand its work to ensure that Congress heeds the expressed will of the people of Massachusetts.