Developing a Moral Budget for Massachusetts
September 27 @ 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Congress is currently debating a discretionary budget which spends more than 50% of our income tax dollars on endless wars, nuclear weapons upgrades, foreign military bases, and other Pentagon accounts. Financing this will require cutting major programs funding human and environmental needs. The alternatives are the People’s Budget generated by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and just recently, the Moral Budget released by the Poor People’s Campaign.
More than 30% of the Massachusetts state budget actually derives from federal funds returned to the state. Unfortunately this information is not made clear by any agency of the State, or of the Federal Government, so that the couplings between the federal appropriations and state budgets are often opaque.
To translate the national priorities identified in the Moral Budget into funds that would come back to Massachusetts, we are holding a Forum. We hope to gather a group of people knowledgeable on aspects of the State budget, as well as the needs of Mass residents. Hopefully the forum will lead to the publication of a “Moral Budget for Massachusetts”. This would be useful when the State Legislature begins its 2020 Budget debate next Spring.
2:05 pm: Welcome: Patricia Weinmann (MIT Radius)
2:10 pm: The Poor Peoples Campaign’s Moral Agenda for the Nation – Rev. Liz Theoharis (PPC)
2:20 pm Panel 1: Developing a Moral Budget for Massachusetts
Chair: Savina Martin (Massachusetts Poor Peoples Campaign)
– A Moral Budget for the Nation – Shailly Gupta Barnes (Institute for Policy Studies)
– Increasing the Mass State Budget – Representative Mike Connolly
– The CPC People’s Budget in Mass – Andrea Burns (Our Revolution)
– Producing a Moral Budget for Massachusetts- Jonathan King (Massachusetts Peace Action)
3:00 pm Panel 2: Housing, Transit, Infrastructure and Energy.
Chair: Caesar McDowell (MIT Urban Studies)
– Affordable Housing – Lee Farris (Cambridge Residents Alliance)
– Roads, Bridges, Water Supply – Heidi Peltier (UMass Amherst)
– Public Transit – State Rep Denise Provost (Somerville)
– Sustainable energy – Quinton Zondervan (Cambridge City Councilor)
3:45 pm Coffee Break
4:00 pm Panel 3: Education and health
Chair: Ruth Rodriguez Fay (Save Our Schools, Worcester)
– Child care and Pre-K Education – Speaker from Defending the Early Years
– K-12 Education – Lisa Guisbond (Citizens for Public Schools)
– Higher Education: Fund Our Future – Merrie Najimy (MTA President)
– Basic and Biomedical Research – Prof. Ishara Mills-Henry (Framingham State)
– Public Health Needs – John Ratliff (Mass Senior Action)
4:45 pm Panel 4: Cutting the Pentagon Budget
Chair: Cole Harrison (Massachusetts Peace Action)
– Investing in Veteran’s needs – Dan Luker (Veterans for Peace)
– Toward a Sustainable Defense budget – Lindsay Koshgarian (Institute for Policy Studies)
– Cutting Raytheon Weapons for Saudi Arabia – Paul Shannon (AFSC)
– Cancelling New Nuclear Weapons – Dr. Kea Van der Ziel (Greater Boston PSR)
5:30: Next steps
Methodology for a state Moral Budget – Jelena Mitic-Elliott (Institute for People’s Engagement)
Constitution of Publications Committee –Panelists
5:45: Closing Keynote: Federal and State Budgets Responding to Our Needs – State Rep. Nika Elugardo (Boston)
6:00: Benediction – Rev. Leslie Sterling (St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church)
(All panels – 6-8 minute talks, then general discussion)
Program committee: Jonathan King, Savina Martin, Jelena Mitic Elliott, Patricia Weinmann.
Co-Sponsors: Mass Poor Peoples Campaign; MIT Radius; Institute for People’s Engagement; Mass Peace Action.
Additional support from the Amy S. Rugel Foundation.