Boston, July 10-- The State Legislature should send a strong “anti-austerity” message to Washington to reverse devastating federal budget cuts, witnesses said today at a Statehouse hearing. Led by veteran community leader Mel King, 40 speakers from community, labor and peace groups, elected officials and policy experts urged the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs to pass the “Budget for All Resolution” (H 3211 and S 1750) to oppose federal cuts that threaten to reverse the state’s economic recovery and throw the state budget into deficit again. “Which side are you on?,” King asked legislators.
|Community leader Mel King
Modeled on language passed by voters by an average 3 to 1 margin in each of the 91 cities and towns where it was on the ballot last November, the Budget for All Resolution urges Congress and President Obama to generate new revenues to invest in jobs by closing corporate tax loopholes, taxing the top 2% earners, ending the war in Afghanistan quickly and redirecting Pentagon spending to jobs and human needs.
“There is reason to fear that through budget cuts or a retreat from crucial programs, Washington would undo much of what we have accomplished in Massachusetts,” State Treasurer Steven Grossman stated in written testimony. “The people of Massachusetts have expressed support for these resolutions at the ballot box. I respectfully request that your committee do the same by reporting it favorably.”
“The lights were out in two Head Start classrooms in my town because of sequestration,” said Rep. David Rogers of Cambridge. “The lives of our future citizens are being formed. We are spending too much on the military, and there is too much of a gap between the haves and the have-nots. The Budget for All has got it right and we should pass it,” he concluded.
Several speakers testified to the devastating local effects of the $1 trillion in across the board “sequester” cuts that kicked in on March 1, with a 5% cut in every federal program, to be followed by 8% cuts annually for the next decade. The automatic cuts are the second stage of the $2.2 trillion “cuts only” approach to the federal deficit passed by Congress in the 2011 Budget Control Act.