By the margin of 74%-26%, Framingham voters sent a clear message on Tuesday to both Democrats and Republicans in Washington about the federal budget crisis and the impending “fiscal cliff”. The “Budget for All” ballot question calls for no cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or other vital programs; investment in jobs that strengthen our economy; 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 statewide vote was 3 to 1 in favor of the measure, winning in all 91 Massachusetts cities and towns where it was on the ballot, including Fall River, Norwood, Great Barrington, Holyoke and Boston.
“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.”
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.
Laurie Taymor-Berry of Survivors, Inc commented., “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, the 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 Framingham voters and all the other parts of Massachusetts where it appeared on the ballot.