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As the Pentagon Spends Tens of Billions On War, the Nation's Cities and States Face Devastating Budget Crises

April 30, 2003


Lillian Roberts

executive director of union DC37 speaking at the rally.

Greg Speeter

executive director of the National Priorities Project.

Stephen Cassidy

president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association.

Meizhu Lui

executive director of United for a Fair Economy.

The worst budget crisis in half a century has forced states across the county to scrimp for savings in a style reminiscent of the Great Depression.

Together, the 50 state governments are facing deficits of $30 billion this year and $82 billion next.

In Massachusetts, the state cut health coverage for 36,000 of its poorest residents and slashed nearly 50 percent of the beds at detox facilities.

Oregon has shortened the school year by 14 days, and is cutting prescription drugs benefit for people with schizophrenia and mental illness.

In San Francisco, planned cuts include the suspension of cost-of-living adjustments in aid to the disabled and seniors, limiting dental care for Medi-Cal recipients and cutting $250 million each from money sent to counties and cities.

In New York City, Mayor Bloomberg plans to close eight firehouses next month. The firefighters union has won at least a temporary reprieve from the city’s plan to cut staff at 49 engine companies. This comes in light of the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center, in which 343 firefighters died.

Bloomberg also plans to layoff more than 4,500 municipal workers. In response to the budget cuts, over 10,000 residents and union members protested in front of City Hall yesterday.