When New Haven voters voted on November 3, 2020, they faced a ballot question: “Shall Congress prepare for health and climate crises by transferring funds from military budget to cities for human needs, jobs and an environmentally sustainable economy?”
This referendum existed because 25 organizations – peace, youth, church, climate, civil rights, school advocacy – joined the city of New Haven Peace Commission in calling for a Public Hearing on it last June by the Board of Alders and testifying on its behalf. The Board unanimously endorsed the referendum and placed it on the ballot.
The answer that 83% of voters gave was a resounding YES!
Since then the Peace Commission has organized monthly meetings among the endorsers to discuss what to do with the results of the referendum.
The reason for promoting this whole process is that New Haven’s representative in Congress and two Senators always vote to fund the military budget, which last year was $740 billion, 57% of the federal discretionary budget. It is because the huge military budget dwarfs all the other budgets Congress votes on – the VA got only 7%, Health & Human Services got only 7%, Housing & Urban Development 3%, Transportation 2%, Interior 1%, Environmental Protection a fraction of 1%.
It is because the city of New Haven faces a $60 million deficit. It faces layoffs, cuts in services, closing of libraries, fire stations and senior centers. The city cannot provide necessary services.
The endorsers have so far come up with two proposals. The first is being led and coordinated by our youth organizers:
1) A public expression hosted by the City of New Haven Peace Commission in celebration of EarthDay, The Green New Deal, and New Haven’s vote to reduce the military budget for human needs! – From chalking to performances, come enjoy the afternoon with family and friends!” Date April 22, Earth Day, 4:00 PM in front of City Hall. In addition to chalking messages, we’ll have a paper petition and online petition, and we’ll ask participants to call our Congresswoman with our message.
See flier below:
2) A Town Hall meeting that will engage the 25 endorsing organizations to discuss what we can do to cut the military budget and move the money and how we press our House member and two Senators to create programs to move the money. The planning for the town hall meeting is just beginning.