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Citizens Call for New Approach to the Budget

Over 100 citizen activists gathered at Simmons College on February 1 to launch an effort to convince Beacon Hill to adopt a new approach to solving the state’s budget crisis. The “Save Our Communities” meeting brought together a number of different public interest constituencies representing such diverse areas as health care, human services, education, the environment, and minority neighborhoods.

Speaker after speaker emphasized that the looming budget cuts are dismantling essential programs and destroying the vision for the kind of society in which we want to live.

Among the people speaking to the meeting were

– Chuck Turner, Boston City Council
– Juan Leyton, Vida Urbana
– Jill Stein,M.D. Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities
– Horace Small from the Union of Minority Neighborhoods
– Peggy O’Malley,R.N., MassCare
– Donnie McGee, Briston Community College
– Nancy Lee Wood, Immigrants Assistance Center
– Frank Ackerman, Tufts University
– Felix Arroyo, Boston City Council
– Steve Collins, Massachusetts Human Services Coalition

Jill Stein, president of the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities (MCHC), called for a new approach to solving the state budget crisis that would involve fair taxes rather than dismantling programs. She presented a preliminary proposal for closing the budget gap that had the following properties:

o The final bottom-line burden for state taxes would be 8.2% across all income brackets.
o 60% of taxpayers (those in the low and moderate income brackets) would receive a tax reduction.
o Taxpayers in the top 20% bracket would pay more, but would still pay less than moderate income taxpayers have been paying for years.

This remarkable alternative is possible because the topmost income group is now bearing about half the burden – as a percentage of income – as is borne by lower income groups. According to Stein “Tax fairness is the solution to the budget crisis – not devastating cuts to essential programs.”

After the meeting, 92 people returned sign-up sheets to join the fair budget campaign. An additional Save Our Communities meeting is being planned for western Massachusetts, and local meetings in eastern Massachusetts will soon be announced. For further information, contact [email protected].

For a copy of slides presented by Dr. Stein Click Here

To read the Boston Globe article on the meeting Click Here

Note: Organizational affiliations mentioned above are for identification purposes only and do not imply organizational endorsement of or membership in MCHC.


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