U.S. Rep. McGovern to headline ‘Budget for All’ forum in Northampton

Last modified: Sunday, October 28, 2012
NORTHAMPTON — U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern will urge voters at a forum Monday to support a ballot referendum that promises to protect social needs, create jobs, cut the deficit and end the war in Afghanistan.

Nearly 1 million Massachusetts voters, including those in Northampton and Amherst, will have the chance to weigh in on the so-called “Budget for All” nonbinding question on the Nov. 6 ballot.

The question will ask voters if they support tax increases for the country’s wealthiest people and cuts in military spending while protecting social services like Social Security, Medicare, and assistance for housing, food and unemployment.

The question supports an immediate end to the war in Afghanistan and for troops to return home right away, with the intention of redirecting the money spent on the war to domestic needs and deficit reduction.

In addition to Northampton and Amherst, the question will be on the ballot in Hatfield, Pelham, Southampton, Westhampton, a portion of Granby, Montgomery, Holyoke and dozens of other cities and towns throughout the state.

“Budget for All” also proposes generating new revenue by closing corporate tax loopholes, ending offshore tax havens and raising taxes on incomes over $250,000.

The new revenues would help pay for the initiatives outlined in the question and reduce the long-term federal deficit, backers say.

In addition to social programs, Congress is urged to create and protect jobs by investing in manufacturing, schools, housing, renewable energy, transportation and other public services.

Monday’s forum will include participation by state representatives Peter Kocot, D-Northampton, and Ellen Story, D-Amherst, as well as Jo Comerford, executive director of the National Priorities Project.

The free event is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Northampton High School. It is sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee and local organizations including the Alliance for Peace and Justice, Jobs with Justice and more.

The ballot initiative is the work of the Fund Our Communities Not War coalition, a group of organizations and individuals across the state.