This article appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of the Massachusetts Peace Action newsletter
The Budget for All campaign began as the US was trying to climb out of a recession and end two long wars. It provided a framework that allowed peace, community, labor and low income groups to work together on the same project with shared goals: maintain vital public programs, invest in useful jobs, end unjust tax breaks and cut Pentagon spending.
After the sweeping 2012 victory in all 90 cities and towns where the question was on the ballot, the campaign sought to bring the voice of the voters into the public battle over federal budget policies. In 2014 Budget for All held a successful Tax Day forum featuring Reps. Jim McGovern and Katherine Clark, Mel King, Grace Ross, labor leader Harris Gruman, and more.
It then turned its attention to trying to pass supportive legislation in the State House. Many of you called and wrote your legislators asking them to bring the bills out of committee and on to the floor for a vote. Paul Shannon and Laurie Taymor-Berry worked the marble halls of the State House and met with dozens of legislators and other elected officials. The effort spread the word about Budget for All throughout the political class but they declined to bring the bills out of committee for a vote. Our State House sponsors, Sen. Dan Wolf and Rep. Jay Livingstone, will file the legislation again for the 2015-16 session of the state legislature.
With the new Republican Congress, budget confrontations are sure to escalate again, bringing proposals to eviscerate vital programs, increase the military budget, and slash environmental protection. Budget for All plans to hold parties to watch the State of the Union address; call on our members of Congress to support the Congressional Progressive Caucus budget; and hold a Tax Day event again in April, to hold high the banner of a common sense and moral alternative to the austere and militaristic budgets that are likely coming. No struggle is more urgent.