For Immediate Release:
April 8, 2003

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Contact: Lauren Townsend or Barbara DiTullio, 215-569-8220

Groups Protest State Budget Cuts and Urge General Assembly to Oppose Bush Tax Cuts

Harrisburg – Today program advocates and members of the Fair Taxes for All Coalition in Pennsylvania joined together today to protest proposed state budget cuts affecting critical services including but not limited to:  drug and alcohol treatment programs, mental health and mental retardation services, medical assistance, outpatient health services for the uninsured, public transportation, domestic violence shelters, rape crisis counseling, and public libraries.

As a result of the poor economy, states are facing a cumulative budget deficit of approximately $100 billion that must be closed over the next several months.  Pennsylvania’s budget deficit is estimated to be $2.4 billion.  This has forced Governor Rendell to propose drastic budget cuts in essential human services.  In addition, if the proposed Bush tax cuts are passed by Congress, Pennsylvania could end up an additional $97 million in debt.

President Bush’s economic growth plan is a tax cut for millionaires that most economists agree will not effectively stimulate our weak economy or create jobs now.  The reduction in public revenue resulting from the overall Bush tax package would leave our government $2 trillion poorer at a time when many public needs must be met.  Consider the demands on national and state budgets: Medicaid funding is in crisis; education budgets are being slashed in all the states including Pennsylvania; domestic security is being compromised as firefighters and police are being laid off; and our nation is funding a war and occupation in Iraq.  This is not a good time to give the average millionaire an annual tax cut of $89,000 while the average middle class person would get about $256 and half the population would get approximately $100.

Speakers at yesterday's rally called upon members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly to restore funding for important human services in the state budget for fiscal year 2003-2004. Also during the rally, members of the Fair Taxes for All Coalition requested legislators to contact their colleagues in Washington DC and urge them to oppose the Bush tax cuts.  Many economists believe that using tax cuts to jumpstart the economy doesn’t work.  What will work is investing in the people of this country and that can be accomplished by having the federal government providing fiscal relief to states like Pennsylvania, enabling them to immediately put the money to work by restoring funding for critically needed human services.

Quotes from some of the speakers at yesterday's rally follow:

Senator Allen Kukovich: 
The proposed Bush budget policy is more than a tax that undermines the lives and dignity of America's most vulnerable citizens.  It is a signal that our federal government will no longer keep its moral commitment to all our people.

State Representative Mike Veon:
It is fundamentally unfair to cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans while cutting programs for the poorest Americans. Cutting health care for children, the number of cops on the streets, housing assistance and community-building programs, all while sending billions of dollars to the top 1 percent, signals a return to the 'voodoo economics' of the 1980s. It didn't work then and it can't work now.

Bill McHugh, Senior Citizen, a retired business man speaking against Bush Tax:
There are many issues here today.  Concerns for seniors appears very low on the list.  They've been promising us relief for years. But once again, we're being screwed in favor of a tax cut to stimulate the economy.  I'm stimulating the economy to the tune of $25,000 a year for prescription drugs and $1.90 every hour of every day and night for PA blue Cross premiums.  I paid into Social Security for 55 years. Today the entire benefit goes for prescription drugs and Blue Cross premiums for my wife and me.

Lauren Townsend, Citizens for Consumer Justice (215-569-8220):
One way to generate critically needed revenue for Pennsylvania is to close corporate tax loopholes. Recently is was pointed out that 82% of corporations in Pennsylvania pay little or no corporate net income tax.  All we are asking is for corporations to pay their faire share.

Jeff Hunsicker,1199P Hospital Workers SEIU (717-238-3030):
Pennsylvania is facing its worst budget crisis in decades and the impact on Pennsylvania's working families will be devastating, unless we raise revenue by closing corporate tax loop holes and our Congressional members bring home federal tax dollars.

Maureen Tate, United for a Fair Economy:
In light of our current state budget crisis and plans to cut programs important
to Pennsylvanians, it is distressing that our Senators Specter and Santorum continue to support Federal Budget proposals that results in huge tax cuts for the wealthy and will put even greater pressure on State budgets for the future.

Kathy Miller, Pennsylvania NOW (215-726-9726):
I am afraid we face times the likes of which we have not seen in this country since the Great Depression of the 30s.  If Bush has his way with a tax cut for the rich, I fear that they may be even worse.  Women will be severely affected.  I fear an increase in domestic violence and a decrease in services for the abused who are least able to defend themselves.

Other speakers included:

  • Larry Frankel, ACLU 215-592-1513 X118 and
    Skyle of the Family Life Center at Thomas Jefferson University
  • Bill George, President, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO
  • Oscar Young, Board Chair of the Philadelphia Unemployment Project  215-557-0822
  • Jim Fenton, Amalgamated Transit Union, 412-281-5583 x18 and Jean Alexander, President of the   Transport Workers Union, Local 234

Members of the Fair Taxes for All Coalition in Pennsylvania include:
1199P SEIU Hospital Workers, ACORN, Action Alliance of Senior Citizens, AFSCME District Council 33 Retirees, AFSCME District Council 47, AFSCME District Council 47 Retirees, AFSCME District Council 47 Local 2187, Alliance for Progressive Action, Pittsburgh, Campaign to Build Pennsylvania Public Transportation, Citizens Budget Campaign of Western, Pennsylvania, Citizens for Consumer Justice, Citizens for Tax Fairness, Coalition of Labor Union Women, Philadelphia, Communications Workers of America, District 13, Jobs with Justice, Philadelphia, Graphics Communications International Union, Local 14M, Institute for the Study of Civic Values, Jewish Labor Committee, Mon Valley Unemployed Committee, National Women’s Political Caucus of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, Pennsylvania Alliance for Senior Citizens, Pennsylvania National Organization for Women,  Philadelphia Unemployment Project, PhilaPOSH, Pittsburgh Jobs with Justice, Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR), Thompson Communications, UNITE AFL-CIO Retirees Council, United for a Fair Economy, Pennsylvania Chapter, United Steelworkers of America, Local 1688, Women’s Agenda for Pennsylvania, Women’s Law Project, Women Organized Against Rape, WOMENS WAY PA

For more information on the Fair Taxes for All Coalition, contact Citizens for Consumer Justice, 117 S. 17th Street, Suite 311, Philadelphia, PA  19103,  phone:  215-569-8220,  fax: 215-569-8220 or email:


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