More photos from the
Mobilization for a Fair Commonwealth
lobby day and rally
Over 3000 people went to Beacon Hill on April 30, 2003 to ask the Legislature to stop the cuts by raising revenues.
Signs, buttons, and heartfelt pleas were the order of the day.
Emily Harting helps citizen lobbyists sign in before visiting their legislators.
Three of the Fair Tax Cheerleaders
Phil Mamber of Mass Senior Action tells the rally that seniors must be heard.
Beautiful weather and high spirits made the rally a success.
MCHC’s Jill Stein tells the rally that diversity is strength.
MCHC’s Monster that’s Eating Massachusetts made an appearance. [Thanks to Nate Stephenson!]
Music was provided by Ken Selcer and friends.
David Yamada helped hand out 1600 lobbying packets to citizens on their way to see their legislators.
Let’s hope the Legislature gets the message!
Our report on the rally:
Thousands Rally to Stop the Cuts
– But Legislature Fails to Act
May 1, 2003
On April 30, over 3000 citizens assembled at the State House to lobby the Legislature to close the budget shortfall by raising needed revenues. Signs and stickers said “Stop the Cuts”, “Raise the Revenues”, and “Fair Taxes”. Almost 2000 lobbying packets were handed out to people who went into the State House to meet with their elected officials.
[Note: The Boston Globe’s Rick Klein incorrectly reported that “about 1000 protesters” attended. An actual count of persons at the rally at one point was 2,000 – and this did not include many people meeting inside the State House or people who left earlier or came later.]
A number of speakers addressed an afternoon rally on the Boston Common. Over 30 organizations co-sponsored the Lobby Day. They included advocates for labor, health care, education, human services, housing, public health, senior citizens, the disabled, and the environment. This was a remarkable event since it marked the first time that such a full range of constituency groups had gone to Beacon Hill with a common message. Traditional lobbying often involves asking that an individual program affecting only one constituency be spared by taking money from elsewhere in the budget. But on April 30, the coalition demanded that all vital services be adequately funded – not by shortchanging other worthy programs – but by raising adequate revenues. Lobby Day sponsors saw this as a major development in response to the divide-and-conquer strategy that has been used to push through service cuts despite the widespread pain they cause.
For months, the dominant Finneran bloc in the Legislature had been saying that they would implement massive cuts rather than raise taxes. And sure enough, shortly after the citizen lobbying ended, the Massachusetts House of Representatives rejected a key revenue measure that would have increased the state income tax to 5.95%. The measure would have avoided $735 million in service cuts. It failed by a vote of 37 to 118. The 37 votes for the measure were undoubtedly much higher due to the intensive lobbying of citizen groups.
After the vote, MCHC President Jill Stein said “Let us send our thanks to the 37 representatives who understood the need for a responsible and humane budget. And as for the other 118, they will be hearing more from us in the weeks and months ahead. What started today is going to build in intensity until we bring about a fundamental change in direction on Beacon Hill. This is just the beginning.”