Agawam Letter: Let’s invest in our communities

Recently one of our leaders from Western Mass, Corinne Wingard, published the following letter in support of new revenue. 

Letter to the Editor, The Republican

Gov. Patrick seeks long-term growth

The article ‘$400M needed for I-91 job,” (The Republican, Feb. 14) doesn’t mention that Gov. Deval L. Patrick’s revenue reform proposal roughly doubles the personal exemption, protecting lower and moderate income earners.

About 50 percent of taxpayers would pay the same or less. Only those in extreme upper income brackets pay significantly more. Tax cuts in the past decade have substantially reduced our tax revenues with dramatic reductions in nearly every state program.

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Program for Our 2013 Policy Conference – Sunday, March 24, 2013

[updated regularly/last update: 3/17]

We actively engages our members across a range of issues that impact social, economic, environment and criminal justice. Our members tell us they are more effective when talking to neighbors, advocacy groups and legislators when they are fully versed on the issues and potential progressive solutions. To this end, we have organized a policy conference on March 24th at Lasell College in Newton, Massachusetts. Registration is $50/person, to cover meals, administrative and building costs; different payment options appear  below.

Our conference will feature leading experts on progressive issues in Massachusetts, with special emphasis on our priorities — health care, economic development and justice, election and campaign reform, criminal justice, the environment and new revenue. Speakers will be encouraged to share a broad perspective on each subject as well as suggest critical progressive solutions.

PROGRAM

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Needham Letters: Support “Act to Invest in Our Communities”

Needham volunteers have been organizing in support of “An Act to Invest in Our Communities” — and their work is paying off! The latest — two letters to the editor were printed in the local paper!

Letter to the Needham Times, February 14, 2012

SUPPORT LOCAL AID

My husband and I bought our house in Needham in 1984, so we are truly long-time residents. I appreciate the quality of life we have in this community and realize that this requires investment — of both time and money.

Over the years since we moved here, local aid has been steadily decreasing. This is a serious threat to maintaining schools, infrastructure and employment opportunities within the town.

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Ed Markey on the Issues

Civil Rights and Women’s Rights – Ed Markey has always been a steadfast supporter of women’s rights and LGBT equality. 

  • He has a 100% rating by Human Rights Campaign (HRC), indicating a Pro-Gay/Lesbian Rights voting record
  • He has a 100% rating by NAACP, indicating a Pro-Affirmative Action voting record
  • He has a 100% rating by NARAL, indicating a Pro-Choice voting record. (in contrast, Stephen Lynch has a 10% rating by NARAL)
  • He has an 87% rating by the ACLU, indicating a Pro-Civil Rights voting record. (in contrast, Lynch has a 50% rating by the ACLU)

The Environment and Energy Policy – Ed Markey has been a progressive leader on energy and environmental policy throughout his political career

  • He now serves on two energy committees
  • He’s a former chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.
  • He wrote the only climate change bill to pass any chamber of Congress.
  • He voted NO on the approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline
  • He has a 100% rating by the League of Conservation Voters, indicating a pro-environment voting record

Corporate Influence on Our Democracy

  • He has a 100% rating by the AFL-CIO indicating a pro-union voting record.
  • The US Chamber, a right-leaning advocacy groupfunded by mega-corporations and the Kochs, gives him a 13% rating
  • He opposes the toxic effects of big money in our politics and supports reversing the effects of “Citizens United”

Education – Ed Markey has a 92% rating by the NEA, indicating a pro-public education record.

Gun Control – The NRA rates his record an “F,” indicating a pro-gun control voting record.

Healthcare – Ed Markey voted YES on the Affordable Care Act Final and supported the President’s health care reform agendathroughout the contentious process. (In contrast, Stephen Lynch voted against health care reform, citing contradictory and inconsistent reasons.)

War and Peace – Ed Markey is rated “A” by IAVA, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and 93% by Peace Action 

Endorsed by -Sierra Club – John Kerry – Steven Grossman – Massachusetts Teachers Association – Barney Frank – Vicki Kennedy – National Education Association – Progressive Massachusetts

✳ Climate Change ✳ Gun Violence ✳Civil Rights ✳ Income Equality

✳ Job Creation ✳ Corporate Overreach ✳

On these important issues and more…

Ed Markey will continue to be a progressive leader for Massachusetts and the nation once elected to the US Senate

For links and sources to this material, see our post on the candidates’ voting records.

Find more info/resources on our main Ed Markey campaign page

PDF version of this material: click here

This overview is meant as a companion to the more detailed “Vote Record” that we used to determine our endorsement. Please see that link for sources for the material below.

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Pres. Obama got it right: We CAN Re-invest in the Nation — and Massachusetts

Americans who have become weary of Washington’s endless battles over spending and taxes — and the stagnating economy that stalemate has produced — got a chance to hear about a different path on Tuesday night.

President Obama’s message in the State of the Union address was clear: It doesn’t have to be this way.

The country doesn’t have to get bogged down by demands for endless austerity and government contraction.

It doesn’t have to defer investments in education and public works. The poor don’t have to remain on society’s lower rungs, and the middle class can aspire to do better.

New York Times editorial following the State of the Union, 2013

The President challenged Congress to act on these principles last night. We support him. We also note that his challenge fits just as well in the context of our Massachusetts Legislature.

Massachusetts has been operating under the principles of austerity and cutting budgets to the bone, and communities have suffered – all because of ill-conceived tax cuts, back in the go-go 1990s. We need to fix that.

Proposals, such as the Governor’s introduced at his State of the Commonwealth and the bill “An Act to Invest in Our Communities,” introduced to the Legislature this session, responsibly re-center our out-of-balance ledger–by making sure the wealthiest pay their share. Currently, they are not:

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“Tax Cuts Continue to Haunt Massachusetts”

(originally published Feb. 12, 2013)

About 15 years ago, at the height of the dot-com bubble, our state made tax policy choices that have shaped state policy ever
since. 
At the time, our economy was so strong that it seemed we could cut taxes dramatically with no consequences….

Of course, the dot-com bubble eventually came to an end.   And when it did, we still had to pay for those tax cuts. During recessions we have made deep budget cuts, and during recoveries we have barely been able to balance the budget.

Make sure you check out today’s Globe piece by Noah Berger of Mass Budget and Policy. As the Governor, legislature and citizens wrestle over details in the budget and how to address our structural revenue shortfalls, while services have already been cut to the bone, Berger outlines why it is we are in this spot to begin with. 

Read, below, and then check in at our “Campaign for Our Communities” page, and be in touch to see how you can get involved in fixing the problem and investing in our future.

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Team Needham Goes to the Senior Center

Last week, our crew made our first big move to encourage our State Representative, Denise Garlick, to actively support An Act to Invest in Our Communities

 

Team Needham visits Rep. Denise Garlick about ‘An Act to Invest in Our Communities.”

On Monday, our delegation of Needham residents — small business owners, health care professionals, educators, parents and grandparents  – descended upon the Needham Senior Center, where Rep. Garlick  holds office hours the first Monday of every month from 10:45-11:30.

As always our Representative greeted us with warmth and sincere interest in hearing what we had to say on behalf of tax reform. We talked about how our municipalities have suffered throughout the past 12 years. Massachusetts tax cuts  in the late 90‘s going forward, along with a recession, have resulted in devastating cuts to crucial programs and services, and devastating job losses for so many in our communities.

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Don’t Let Them Out-Organize Us

We knew this wouldn’t be easy. Though a straightforward and responsible notion — investing in our communities to keep them thriving — it was bound to meet opposition, after decades of trickle-down economics and “no new taxes” pledges. Even though President Obama and Senator Warren won handily with their unapologetic messages of our generational responsibility to fund our future, we still hear cries of “foul” from the same old quarters

And so, it is no surprise to us to learn that conservative forces are mobilizing against the proposals made by Governor Patrick and Campaign for Our Communities, to invest in our communities and keep Massachusetts a great place to live, work and raise a family.

[UPDATE: Opposition has come from much closer quarters -- read more]

Legislators are currently hearing from the opponents to the Governor’s plan and ‘Act to Invest‘. And, disappointingly, too many legislators are dragging their feet. We, as progressives, need to out-organize the opposition and put our grassroots activism to work for progressive legislation.

We need you to make your call to your legislators to stiffen their spines in support of progressive revenue reform, today. But even more, we need your leadership as advocates and community organizers to get others to do the same.

Make your call and record it below (help us track contacts!). And then call on us — we can help you organize your community forOur Communities. (Follow along with Needham’s efforts, on our blog.)

Ready to call?

Click here to look up your State Representative and Senator (why not add them to your address book now?).

 

 

Next--check if your legislator is already a co-sponsor 

The legislators listed below are CO-SPONSORS and do not need to be persuaded – you could, however, thank them for their advocacy, to help keep their support strong and unwavering!:

 

STATE REPRESENTATIVES: Andrews, Denise; Balser, Ruth; Basile, Carlo; Brady, Michael; Coakley-Rivera, Cheryl; Curran, Sean; Decker, Marjorie; Devers, Marcos; Farley-Bouvier, Tricia; Finn, Michael; Henriquez, Carlos; Keefe, Mary; Khan, Kay; Kocot, Peter; Lawn, John; Lewis, Jason; Malia, Elizabeth; Mark, Paul; O’Day, James; Pignatelli, William; Provost, Denise; Rogers, David; Sannicandro, Tom; Sciortino, Carl; Smizik, Frank; Story, Ellen; Sullivan, David; Swan, Benjamin; Toomey, Timothy; Vega, Aaron; Walsh, Chris

STATE SENATORS: Barrett, Michael; Candaras, Gale; Chang-Diaz, Sonia; Donnelly, Kenneth; Eldridge, James; Jehlen, Patricia; Rush, MichaelWelch, James; Wolf, Daniel

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Ed Markey for US Senate – Time to Get to Work

Progressive Massachusetts has endorsed Congressman Ed Markey for US Senate in the Democratic Primary. Now we need to make our endorsement count.

Many of our members are collecting signatures - at their supermarkets, their public libraries, their Democratic caucuses (find your caucus here).

Join an existing drive (listed on our website), or start your own (download signature papers).

But there’s more we can do. The campaign has asked us to coordinate new voter registration — but we need a team to help make this happen. 

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Compare Candidates: Ed Markey and Stephen Lynch

There are real differences between the Democratic candidates. Explore the vote record of Democratic candidates Congressmen Ed Markey and Stephen Lynch, on issues important to progressives.

Progressive Mass has compiled info to assist members in choosing whom to endorse. Overwhelmingly, Progressive Mass members chose to endorse Ed Markey for US Senate.

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