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Ending Austerity in the Federal Budget: Investments in Public Services

WHEREAS:

           The federal government is ultimately responsible for ensuring that our nation’s values and priorities are reflected in federal budgets; and

WHEREAS:

           Public spending for government services strengthens our economy, creates jobs, educates our children and provides critical public health investments that benefit all Americans; and

WHEREAS:

           State governments rely on federal funds on average for almost one-third of their budgets, and much of that is spent on public services administered by states and localities; and

WHEREAS:

           Government safety net programs kept 41 million people out of poverty in 2012; and

WHEREAS:

           State and local economies are still recovering from the Great Recession, which caused tax receipts to plummet at the same time that the unemployment rate, the poverty rate and the need for government help increased; and

WHEREAS:

           Across-the-board spending cuts – known as sequestration – took effect on March 1, 2013, cutting federal spending for public services and other needed investments by $85 billion in 2013 and $109 billion in 2014, causing, for example, 57,000 children to lose Head Start school preparation and eliminating hundreds of thousands of jobs; and

WHEREAS:

           State and local government employment numbers have still not reached pre-recession levels, with 725,000 jobs lost and the loss of an additional 776,000 jobs that needed to be created to keep pace with population growth; and

WHEREAS:

           This shrinkage in public sector employment is a substantial drag on full economic recovery; and

WHEREAS:

           A depleted number of state and local government employees cannot fully perform their critically-important jobs; and

WHEREAS:

           The Congressional Budget Office projects that the federal budget deficit in 2014 will be the smallest as a share of the gross domestic product since 2007; and

WHEREAS:

           The House of Representatives’ federal budget proposal, put forward by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), is an extreme austerity plan that gets 69 percent of its cuts from programs that serve low and moderate income people while at the same time reduces revenues by cutting wealthy individuals’ and corporate tax rates and failing to close loopholes.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:

           That AFSCME will fight against austerity budgets that constrain economic growth, put the brakes on job creation and cause hardship for poor and working families; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

           That AFSCME will initiate and support efforts to end the anti-growth and harmful sequester cuts; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

           That AFSCME will support federal budget policies making needed investments in education, child care, public health, nutrition programs, transportation, law enforcement and other public services; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED:

            That AFSCME will initiate and support efforts to increase federal revenues from fair sources, including wealthy individuals and corporations, which are needed to fund these vital investments.

 

SUBMITTED BY:
Darren Wong, President and Delegate
Jackie Ferguson-Miyamoto, Secretary and Delegate
HGEA/AFSCME Local 152
Hawaii

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