SUBJECT: Resolution Supporting Federal Budget Reprioritization
1. United States military spending is higher than it has been since World War II, using inflation-adjusted dollars. The Pentagon budget has more than doubled (in constant dollars) since 1998.[i]
2. Both progressive and conservative think tanks and leaders have recently put forth proposals for specific, sustainable cuts to the military budget. Significant cuts in military spending can be made without adversely affecting America’s security and without affecting pay and benefits for servicemen and women and veterans, health care for servicemen and women and veterans, or protective gear for active duty personnel.
3. The Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration operate two of the nation’s largest health care systems and provide care to approximately 9.6 million active duty military members and six million veterans. However, the health and mental health needs for members of our armed forces continue to be underfunded.
4. While military spending has been extraordinary during the past decade, huge cuts have been made at the federal, state, and local levels to domestic spending, including appropriations for Maryland, Montgomery County, and the City of Takoma Park. For example, reduced federal funds to Takoma Park’s Community Development Block Grants program jeopardized previously approved projects to serve low- and middle-income Takoma Park residents.[ii] Additional cuts may well be made next year.
5. According to data from the National Priorities Project, the projected contribution of Takoma Park taxpayers to the FY2012 Department of Defense budget was $35.0 million. For the same amount of money, the following could be provided:
14,028 Children Receiving Low-Income Healthcare for One Year OR
467 Elementary School Teachers for One Year OR
487 Firefighters for One Year OR
4,476 Head Start Slots for Children for One Year OR
13,369 Households with Renewable Electricity – Solar Photovoltaic for One Year OR
28,076 Households with Renewable Electricity-Wind Power for One Year OR
3,648 Military Veterans Receiving VA Medical Care for One Year OR
4,889 People Receiving Low-Income Healthcare for One Year OR
491 Police or Sheriff’s Patrol Officers for One Year OR
4,342 Scholarships for University Students for One Year OR
6,301 Students receiving Pell Grants of $5550 [iii]
6. Given the current economic crisis, job creation is essential, in both the private and public sectors; funds are needed to rebuild deteriorating infrastructure, and investments must be made in developing new technologies to create a sustainable future.
7. A different military strategy and an end to the wars abroad would free up hundreds of billions of dollars. This revenue is necessary to support the nation, the state, and all local governments.
The Takoma Park City Council approves the following resolution:
The City Council urges the United States Congress to make major reductions in the Pentagon budget, in a manner that does not harm the safety or lives of our troops, with the savings invested in state and local needs so that the City of Takoma Park and other local jurisdictions can repair their deteriorating infrastructure, reverse budget cuts to education, health care, and other needs, and otherwise improve the welfare of their residents.
This Resolution will be sent to the Montgomery County Council, the Maryland delegation to the United States Congress, the Governor of Maryland, and the Montgomery County delegation of the Maryland General Assembly; and the President of the United States.
[i]Project on Defense Alternatives, Trillions to Burn, http://www.comw.org/pda/1002BudgetSurge.html.
[ii] Reported by Takoma Park City Manager Barbara Matthews at the Nov. 28, 2011 City Council meeting: a 26% reduction in federal funds necessitated a reassessment of the feasibility of six previously approved CDBG projects totaling $125,000.
[iii] National Priorities Project, Trade-Offs, http://nationalpriorities.org/en/interactive-data/trade-offs/state/MD/city/takoma-park/program/14/tradeoff/0/