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Resolutions & Amendments

35th International Convention - Las Vegas, NV (2002)

Protecting Quality Public Services During a Fiscal Crisis

Resolution No. 91
35th International Convention
June 24 - 28, 2002
Las Vegas, NV


At the beginning of 2002, states collectively faced an almost $50 billion budget shortfall, and that shortfall could double by 2003; and


After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, state and local governments assumed new responsibilities to protect our homeland security at a time when our economy had already slipped into recession; and


State and local governments provide crucial public services that protect our communities; care for our young, old and sick; educate our citizens; build and maintain important infrastructure; protect our natural resources; and assist working families; and


Public employees deliver these crucial public services and deserve support, recognition and tools to provide services of the highest quality, including good wages and benefits and employment security; and


States enacted tax cuts totaling almost $50 billion from 1995 through 2001, with local governments often cutting taxes as well; and


Corporate tax breaks are costing states much needed revenue, and the burden of state taxes is becoming more unfair. State corporate taxes accounted for 8 percent of state revenue in 1991, but now account for less than 3 percent of state revenue; and


The job security, wages, and hard-earned benefits of public employees are being attacked by politicians who lack the courage and leadership to demand fair sacrifices from big corporations and wealthy individuals; and


The U.S. Congress has ignored the plight of state and local governments and enacted a so-called stimulus package that actually costs states almost $15 billion in lost corporate tax revenues. Moreover, the Bush tax cut enacted in 2001 will provide trillions of dollars of tax cuts over the next ten years that disproportionately benefit wealthy individuals at the expense of important public priorities, including Social Security, Medicare, education, and state and local programs and investments.


AFSCME will fight throughout the country for solutions to budget problems that protect the job security, wages and benefits of public employees. This includes educating our members, politicians and the public about the importance of a strong and fair revenue system to protect their job security and hard won pay and benefits; and


AFSCME will continue to advocate for federal spending that helps to relieve the fiscal stress on state and local governments, including lobbying for HR 3414, which provides for higher federal Medicaid matching payments for all states. In addition, AFSCME will support the efforts of Senator Kennedy and others to postpone elements of the Bush tax cut, such as repealing the federal estate tax, that are giveaways to the super-rich; and


AFSCME will play a leadership role in resolving this fiscal crisis and restoring fair and adequate revenues for state and local governments-in which big corporations and wealthy individuals pay their fair share-by mobilizing our members, participating in rallies and demonstrations throughout the country, forming coalitions with like-minded allies, publicizing outrageous tax breaks and examples of corporate welfare and supporting politicians who support these goals.



J. Claude Fort, President and Delegate
Milton Lovett, 1st Vide President and Delegate
AFSCME Local 375, Council 37
New York