New Haven Backs Cut to Military Budget

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By Henry Lowendorf, U.S. Peace Council
New Haven, CT
2017 February 21

The resolution to cut the military budget to fund New Haven, CT, human services and infrastructure passed the Board of Alders unanimously this evening.

The resolution submitted by the city of New Haven Peace Commission was presented at a hearing by the Human Services Committee of the Board and received input from various department heads of the city government.

The resolution called for this citywide hearing to “reveal what the extent of the city’s public and human services needs are, what the gaps are between the city’s needs and all funds provided by taxes, grants and debt, and how those gaps could be met by reducing the annual national military budget” which currently takes more than 55% of the federal discretionary budget and under the Trump administration is likely to dramatically increase.

Asked to imagine what they could do with greater funds, department heads and city workers enthusiastically spoke of providing more nurses and public health services to needy school children, encouraging business development for non high tech startups, provide high quality housing, end homelessness, fix potholes and sidewalks, replace outdated public works equipment, take care of the city’s coastline and harbor, replace laid-off park department workers, provide mechanics for the police fleet and build a green fleet garage – among other things.

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp approved of the resolution and offered to submit a similar one to the US Conference of Mayors calling on every medium to large city in the nation to hold such a hearing.

The resolution passed this evening calls on the Board of Alders to transmit a letter to federal elected representatives asking what they are going to do to reduce the military budget, cut spending on wars and move funds to human needs.

In asking the Board to support this resolution Alder Richard Furlow, Ward 27 and Chair of the Human Services Committee, read the statement below encouraging his colleagues to support the resolution.

Statement of Alder Richard Furlow:

Honorable Colleagues:

Imagine, if you will, an ideal world — a world where our city had nearly unlimited funds at its disposal.

That could be a reality if the federal government followed the recommendations of this resolution. It urges that military spending be cut in order to meet the needs of local communities.

On January 26, the Human Services Committee held an informative, well-attended hearing on this resolution. City department heads were invited to expound on what they would do with a bottomless well of free money.

First and foremost, of course, would be unmet social-service needs.

We would truly end homelessness and expand the re-entry programs. Rebuild the senior’s program and finish the youth center! There would be quality health care and drug rehab on demand. Food Justice for all!

We would have plenty of jobs and affordable housing. And a high-performing school system with well-paid nurses!

New sidewalks and bike lanes on every street! Buses that run on time and an international airport. Low property taxes! No potholes! A ballet and circus! We would have well–groomed parks and a skating rink with ice!

The “peace dividend” would enable the city to settle outstanding labor contracts and fully fund the pension system. We could afford a police department that enforced traffic laws, a fire department with brand-new trucks, and plenty of overtime to go around!

Colleagues, please join me in commending the Peace Commission for this admirable resolution.

I urge your support.

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