By a margin of 71percent to 29 percent in Swampscott; 67 percent to 33 percent in Marblehead; and 77 percent 23 percent in parts of Lynn) voters in the 8th Essex state representative district last Tuesday sent a clear message to lawmakers in Washington about the federal budget crisis and the impending “fiscal cliff.”
The “Budget for All” ballot question passed by a vote of 4,763 to 1,907 in Swampscott; 6,977 to 3,426 in Marblehead; and 1,471 to 449 in the part of Lynn that is in the 8th Essex state rep district. The ballot questions 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 for the highest incomes; withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan now; and redirection of military spending to domestic needs and job creation.
The Budget for All ballot question passed by a wide margin in every one of the 90 Massachusetts cities and towns where it appeared on the ballot, including Fall River, Norwood, Great Barrington, Holyoke and Boston. The overall statewide vote was 3 to 1 in favor of the measure.
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.
“The election just happened, 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 overwhelmingly voted for an alternative to prevent cuts to programs that benefit us all and to invest in jobs instead.”
Laurie Taymor-Berry of Survivors, Inc., added, “Tuesday’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, 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 message sent to them by the voters of Swampscott, Marblehead and Lynn’s 8th state rep district and all the other parts of Massachusetts where it appeared on the ballot.