New Haven, CT, & 91 MA Town Voters Tell Congress: Cut the Military Budget!
At the polls Tuesday, I had the opportunity to cast a vote on one of the most important issues facing the country today. No, I'm not talking about the presidential race. I'm talking about an issue the two presidential candidates only superficially addressed during this long campaign season: the US military budget. Voters in 91 Massachusetts towns and in New Haven, CT, were asked whether Congress should redirect funds from the military budget to human needs. And we New Englanders overwhelmingly voted "Hell Yeah!"
The ballot referendum in Massachusetts was organized by the Budget for All Massachusetts Coalition, which is reporting preliminary results that 556,000 Massachusetts voters (or 74%) answered "yes", while only 190,930 (26%) said "no". In New Haven, the margin was even wider. The New Haven Register reports that 23,398 city residents (or 85%) voted “yes,” while only 15% of voters (4,152 residents) voted “no.” The New Haven ballot referendum was organized by the Greater New Haven Peace Council, City of New Haven Peace Commission, and Promoting Enduring Peace.
Both of the ballot questions asked voters whether Congress should reduce military spending and increase and protect spending on human needs, such as Social Security and Medicare. Although the referendums are non-binding, they send a strong signal to Massachusetts and Connecticut representatives that reducing the military budget must be made a priority in the next Congress, and that efforts to save Pentagon spending from the cutting board by offering up cuts to necessary domestic programs will not be tolerated.
Here's the text of the Massachusetts ballot question:
Shall the state Representative (or Senator) from this district be instructed to vote in favor of a resolution calling upon the Congress and the President to:
1. Prevent cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Veterans benefits, or to housing, food and unemployment assistance;
2. Create and protect jobs by investing in manufacturing, schools, housing, renewable energy, transportation and other public services;
3. Provide new revenues for these purposes and to reduce the long-term federal deficit by closing corporate tax loopholes, ending offshore tax havens, and raising taxes on incomes over $250,000; and
4. Redirect military spending to these domestic needs by reducing the military budget, ending the war in Afghanistan and bringing U.S. troops home safely now.
And here is the question New Haven residents were asked:
Shall Congress reduce military spending; transfer funds to convert to civilian production; create jobs to rebuild our infrastructure; meet pressing human needs?