[Cross-posted from ONE Massachusetts by Harmony Blakeway]
Are you interested in getting involved in efforts to re-evaluate and rebuild our state’s tax policies and budget priorities?
Across the state, local community activists are holding meetings to build support for An Act to Invest in Our Communities, the revenue reform bill that would raise $1.3 billion in revenues and stop cuts to Local Aid and other critical state programs by increasing the tax rate on income and investments, while increasing the standard personal deduction to limit the tax impact on middle- and low-income earners.
As Senate and House members iron out the state budget over the next few weeks, ONE Massachusetts members and allies in communities across the Commonwealth are working with local officials to document how declining revenues brought about by tax cuts and the lagging economy have specifically impacted their communities. These diverse stories of specific cuts are then shared with local legislative delegations, urging them to commit to building a solid majority of support for An Act to Invest in Our Communities. With this stronger fiscal foundation, we would have enough new revenue to begin to repair and reform some of the damages done by recent cuts.
In Mattapoisett, members of the Democratic Town Committee met in May with ONE Massachusetts Leadership Team member, Easton Selectwoman, and former President of the Selectman Association in the Mass Municipal Association, Colleen Corona, to talk about how the state’s cuts to Local Aid have wreaked havoc on the town’s budget.
Here is feedback she got from Eileen Marnum, a member of the Commmitee…
Kudos to you and THANK YOU.
Your talk to the Mattapoisett Democratic Town Committee was well received. Below is Dr. Rosenfield’s [retired professor from UMass Dartmouth] comment, as well as, some of the typical responses from those attending your outstanding and informative presention. Everyone learned something and thought you did a wonderful job explaining clearly and thoughtfully municipal financing. Kathy Reed, Ph.D. said it was a splendid opportunity to learn the nuts and bolts of what makes and keeps a town solvent. Susan Pizzalato, executive director of the Mattapoisett Library, was quite impressed and wanted your contact information. Jean Fox, Freetown member of the Board of Selectman, said your powerpoint with charts and graphs was well done, particularly, when it showed how the progression of cuts to local aid and unfunded mandates adversely impacted municipal budgets. Former Mattapoisett Selectwoman, Michelle Bernier echoed the same sentiments.
Last week, a group of Democratic Pioneer Valley activists met with Rep. Ellen Story to strategize on how to move the Act to Invest in Our Communities tax bill forward. The Pioneer Valley activists concluded that the income tax increase proposed in the Act to Invest in Our Community would be the best way to restore funding to the state budget.
“There is no other source available to bring in the kind of funding we need to bring down the deficit,” said Shutesbury Democratic Town Committee member Joanne Sunshower. “If we fix it up now, things will run a lot more smoothly.”
On June 13th, Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts are meeting in Brookline for a forum with Jay Kaufman, the House Chairman of the Legislature’s Revenue Committee, to discuss tax cuts, the current fiscal situation and An Act to Invest in Our Communities.
One Massachusetts Leaders, like Colleen and the members of the ONE Massachusetts staff, would love to work with you to customize a presentation that would be helpful to your neighbors and friends. We are currently developing a Summer Campaign Kit to help you document the cuts in your community and to provide talking points that will help you tell your community’s stories in a way that will convince your legislative delegation to join the Summer Campaign.
Plans are also in the works for a statewide gathering of community activists in late September or early October to hear from you and to help make a plan to work with our supporters in the Legislature and pass some tax reform legislation like An Act to Invest in Our Communities.
Please contact Harmony Blakeway at harmony[at]realclout.org for free customized materials or to arrange a legislative meeting in your neighborhood!