Dignity For All: Put People First Statement for a People’s Budget

Vermont's Put People First movement delivered this unity statement to members of the Vermont Senate and House Appropriations Committees at the February 11, 2013, Budget Hearings held at 15 VT Interactive TV sites throughout the state. Many dozen members of Put People First testified at the hearings, reporting their unmet needs, demanding dignity and equity, and calling for a People's Budget.

Dignity For All: Put People First Statement for a People’s Budget

We join together under the umbrella of Put People First to call for a budget that advances dignity and equity in our state. We need a budget that unites rather than divides us; a budget that seeks to meet people’s needs rather than accepts poverty; a budget that raises money in way that reduces rather than increases inequity.

We unite around the vision of a People’s Budget that starts with people’s voices, their needs and rights, and that aims to achieve an adequate standard of living for all people in Vermont. We refuse to be drawn into a competition over funding that is inadequate to meet everyone’s needs, raised in a regressive way, and intended to divide us.

Reflecting the true values of the people of Vermont, we come together recognizing our shared humanity and dignity, beyond specific issues or groups. We will not accept a budget that is balanced on the backs of the most vulnerable amidst us. Instead, we call for a budget process that starts with a commitment to protecting dignity and ending poverty, and that shares our state’s resources based on need.

We call on our elected representatives to:

  • Move forward on a People’s Budget by creating a meaningful process of public participation and carrying out annual needs assessments;
  • Move toward more equitable taxation, which requires maintaining the Earned Income Tax Credit and ruling out regressive taxes;
  • Strengthen the public services and programs that are essential to meeting fundamental needs, including Reach Up, home and community-based care, early and higher education, weatherization and fuel assistance;
  • Adopt an equitable financing plan for Green Mountain Care and, in the transition phase, fully subsidize any extra costs incurred by current Catamount and VHAP participants.

View media coverage of the hearing here.