Budget Forum: Let All Voices Be Heard

There are (at least) two sides to every story, and when it comes to the recent budget deal, multiple voices need to be heard. Why did six progressive Democrats vote against the deal and what do they think we should do going forward?

As a citizen, I was highly confused about what actually went down during the budget negotiations last June, a problem exacerbated by the fact that the deal was cut in the middle of the night on June 30/July 1 — in a process that effectively marginalizes citizens, whether by accident or design.

Judy, Claire, and Mikki at PDD Budget Forum

Judy, Claire, and Mikki at PDD Budget Forum

As a Sussex resident, I had multiple chances to hear the Speaker’s side of the story, but I did not have a full understanding of why six progressive Democrats voted against the budget deal. Thus, I drove upstate to hear them speak.

Hearing what the “Big Six” had to say was very enlightening.

What I learned about the substance of the budget deal greatly disturbs me, particularly the use of mortgage settlement money that should have gone to people who lost their homes, the deep cuts to programs that help the most vulnerable among us, and the failure to bring to the floor a bill that would increase state income tax on the wealthiest Delawareans. (Currently, those making $250,000 a year are taxed at the same rate as those making only $60,000 a year.)

What I learned about process was equally disturbing.

Microsoft Word - November3rd2015BudgetForuminSussex (1).docxIf you would like an opportunity to hear (some of) the “Big Six” tell their story and hear their ideas for how to move forward, please attend the “Delaware Budget Forum” on November 3rd at 5:30 pm at the Lewes Public Library, sponsored by the Coalition for Budget Justice.

Importantly, the forum promises to be much more than a rehash of past events. Instead it will provide an opportunity for progressive leaders to share their views on how to move forward as we face an even more severe budget crisis in 2016.

While “people of good will” hold differing views on what happened and what should happen in the future, I believe it’s vitally important for citizens to hear all voices and draw their own conclusions.

In a healthy civic culture, information is not seen as threatening, and no one is silenced.

 

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