The state's obligation is to help people survive,
NOT to boost profits
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In times of crisis, what is the state’s role? To support greed or need? The governor and legislature have given their answer: their budgets sacrifice the most vulnerable and never touch massive business subsidies. Sisters Organize for Survival says it’s time to reverse that equation!
Handouts that prop up high rates of private profit are criminal at a time when mere subsistence is at stake for thousands. If the sick and hungry have to “tighten their belts,” why shouldn’t Boeing, Microsoft and the rest?
And helping the poor creates jobs! While businesses and the wealthy salt away their bail-outs and tax breaks, workers’ wages and aid to the needy are recycled directly back into the economy to pay for groceries, transportation, rents and mortgages, clothing, entertainment and health care. A state budget that helps the poor and retains living-wage union jobs raises conditions for all.
When the state subsidizes greed instead of need, our communities suffer. We are losing basic programs that provide food, shelter, and health care to mothers and children, elders, the disabled. The workers who provide services are being laid off and joining the ranks of those who need help but can’t get it. Women’s burdens become even heavier as they try to fill the gaps. Public education is undermined and only the children of the rich can afford college. Labor standards that were won through years of struggle are being destroyed.
Endless taxation of poor and working people isn’t the answer. We’re already paying more than our share. We need tax relief that doesn’t throw our sisters and brothers under the bus.
And then there’s the biggest tax vampire of all — the Iraq and Afghanistan wars that are destroying lives and ravaging the environment. We call on state lawmakers to demand an end to this ever-expanding quagmire.
budget crisis without sacrificing workers
& the most vulnerable
That’s just scratching the surface There are lots of other ways to bring more money into the state: Increase the rate of the estate tax. Release people in prison for victimless crimes – and provide less expensive, more effective rehabilitation. End the death penalty, which costs tens of thousands more per year for each prisoner. Make Boeing pay back the $4.3 billion it received to reduce traffic congestion around its facilities. Prevent Microsoft’s exclusion from royalty taxes. What about keeping state funds in a non-profit state bank rather than commercial institutions? While we’re at it, let’s re-examine the question of income tax on the super-rich and the possibility of a corporate income tax.
When you flip the funding question, there’s plenty of ways to bring more revenue into the state! What are your ideas?
Where will the increased funds go?
All programs assisting the poor must not only be restored to former budget levels but expanded to help the thousands being hard hit by the economic crisis. For starters: Increased aid to poor families. Fully fund the state food stamp program, childcare assistance, and dental care. Open the Basic Health Plan to all low-income people, including the unemployed. Children’s health must be top priority, including help for those without documents. Public works programs at union wages would get things done and provide on-the-job training.
Reinstate money for parks and libraries. Tie the level of unemployment benefits to the number of dependents being supported. Fund mediation programs to help people fight foreclosure. Lower tuition rates so students don’t start their lives shackled by enormous debt. How’s that for a start?
Answering the naysayers
Won’t every business leave the state if these tax measures are passed? Not likely. In 45 other states, they’d have to pay a tax on corporate profits.
But it will take a constitutional amendment to make some of these changes! Ok – do it!
These ideas may not even be legal! That doesn’t stop the government on the things it cares about. How about the two voter-passed initiatives on teacher pay raises and class sizes that were never implemented? Was that legal?
What about the state’s contractual obligations? Tell your concerns to state employees whose ratified contract was overridden in the budget process.
Business will just pass the charges on to consumers. They can’t charge us more than we can pay. Consumers – let’s organize to get the greedy off our backs!
Fight for a budget that supports people
Working and poor people pay taxes – we just want the rich to start paying theirs! We do the work – they can’t survive without us. But we can live much better if we don’t have to support them through our taxes!