December 16, 2012

Historic Vote, December 17th, Duluth City Council

Connecting the dots between bloated Pentagon Spending and cuts in our local communities. If the Duluth vote passes, our city will join the Saint Paul and Minneapolis City Councils in passing the MN ASAP resolultion. 

The Minnesota Arms Spending Alternatives Project (MN ASAP) resolution connects the dots between bloated Pentagon spending and cuts (austerity) in our local communities. Thanks to Council Member Sharla Gardner, our resolution is on the Duluth City Council agenda for December 17th at 7:00 pm. 




DAY OF THE VOTE EVENTS: December 17th, 2012.

1.) At 5:45 pm, we will hold a candle light vigil with peace songs performed by the "Echoes of Peace" Choir (led by Rachael Kilgour). This will be held in front of the City Hall building.

2.) At 6:15 pm, we will hold a press conference. MN ASAP leader, Peace and Social Justice Professor Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer will give a short speech and then do a Q & A with the media. Rev. John Pegg of Duluth (former Marine) will also represent MN ASAP in the press conference. Other potential press conference representatives TBD.

3.) At 7:00 pm, we move into the City Council Chambers for the historic vote! 3-5 MN ASAP supporters will be encouraged to sign up for the public hearing session (open mic).

WHAT DOES THE RESOLUTION SAY?

RESOLUTION REGARDING STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT FUNDING AND THE IMPACT OF PENTAGON SPENDING.

(This resolution is still being revised by council members)

BY COUNCILOR GARDNER:

WHEREAS, in 2011 the Minnesota state government shut down over disputes as to how to address a $5 billion dollar two-year budget shortfall; and

WHEREAS, many small towns, cities and rural communities throughout the state are managing austerity budgets, laying off police, firefighters, and teachers and cutting essential services in response to cuts in state aid and/or federal cuts to community development block grants; and

WHEREAS, communities throughout the state have suffered from a regressive property tax system due in part to state and federal cuts; and

WHEREAS, Duluth tax payers have contributed $450 million dollars and counting towards the Irag and Afghanistan wars alone; and

WHEREAS, in addition to these costly wars, Minnesota tax payers are
spending more than $16 billion in 2012 for their share of the base Pentagon budget, a budget that increased from $290.5 billion to $526 billion between 2000
and 2011; and

WHEREAS, in 2012 $.59 cents of every dollar of federal discretionary
spending is funding military purposes; and

WHEREAS, on a local level the 148 Fighter Wing is an example of a th
military unit doing more with less, and serves as a model of prudent military spending; and

WHEREAS, the budget for veterans is separate from the military budget and the nation has a responsibility to provide veterans with quality medical care and other support, including opportunities for meaningful jobs; and

WHEREAS, our nation needs to better balance its approach to national security to include the economic, social, and environmental needs of our local communities, state and nation.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Duluth city council hereby requests that our state and federal representatives make an effort to shift federal funding priorities from pentagon spending to domestic economic, social and environmental priorities to better serve local communities.

Approved as to form:

[Please or write call your city council member. Ask for a yes vote on the "MN ASAP resolution, which connects the dots between Pentagon spending and cuts at the local level].

MN ASAP is a non-partisan citizen-based initiative using a simple resolution process to build political support to shift federal spending from the military to meeting essential community needs. The Minneapolis and St. Paul City Councils recently endorsed the resolution; we hope to add Duluth to the list.

Federal financial priorities have an impact locally. Duluth taxpayers alone have spent $450 million dollars and counting for our share of the Iraq and Afghan Wars. Congress is currently facing decisions to deal with the “Fiscal Cliff” with the possibility of across the board cuts to programs, so it is a good time to make our voices heard. Military spending takes 57% of the total discretionary budget – compared to only 4% spent on education. We would rather see more funding for Social Security, Medicare, Education, infrastructure, and Community Development Block Grants that fund programs for low -income people.

For more information, call 218.310.7682, email minnesotaasap@gmail.com or visit our website at www.mnasap.org 

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