HARTFORD – A broad coalition of community, labor and faith organizations gathered today to demand the introduction of a “People’s Recovery” budget in Connecticut. In a rally held at the Shiloh Baptist Church, the coalition called for a state budget that prioritizes the needs of Black, brown and white working families and vulnerable communities in Connecticut over the greed of certain billionaires and corporations.
The event highlighted how Connecticut billionaires are profiting from the pandemic while working families continue to sacrifice. Over the past six months, thousands of community members have died and lost their jobs, while wealthy billionaires and millionaires in Connecticut enjoyed over $2 billion in profits.
The coalition seeks to ensure that the state can raise revenue for quality public services in order to support working families who are struggling during the crisis. As current state revenue streams decrease due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, progressive advocates argue that Governor Lamont and the General Assembly should ask those who have the most to pay their fair share. Billionaires and millionaires who keep getting richer during the pandemic should share the wealth through progressive tax rates in support of the essential public services that we all rely on. Avoiding further cuts to public education, healthcare, and other essential services must be the priority for a wealthy state like Connecticut.
- “The pandemic has left tens of thousands of Connecticut families struggling to make ends meet, while a small minority of affluent families have seen their wealth increase even further. We cannot ask working families in this state to sacrifice more while those at the top get richer – it is time to ask the wealthiest among us to step up and pay more taxes.”
Connecticut Working Families Party
- “By further cutting taxes on the wealthy and refusing to set progressive tax rates, Connecticut is fueling a wider gap of disparity between the haves and the have-nots. COVID-19 has ravaged our communities, shining a light on the many faces of racism and segregation that still prevail in our state. How can we morally afford to have a city like Hartford, the capital of a wealthy state like Connecticut, be one of the poorest cities in the nation just because working Black and brown people are the majority of its residents? The virus forced us to rethink how we value frontline workers and essential services. It has forced us to question the state’s austerity policies that burden working families and the poor. And it has forced us to witness once again that the real threat to our public health is the pandemic of systemic racism. It’s up to us to make a difference and to demand a People’s Recovery now.”
Senior Pastor AJ Johnson
Urban Hope Refuge Church in Hartford
- “As we continue to struggle through these difficult times, it is important that we organize and fight for all the resources that we need to heal from this virus — because we know that nothing will be handed to us without a fight. We need more resources for the critical mental health and addiction services that people need now more than ever. We need more resources for frontline caregivers — PPE, testing and treatment. It is clear that race and socioeconomic status are proving to be strong predictors of outcome as comorbidities. Our fight is the fight to ensure that those who are most vulnerable and those who are called ‘essential’ but not treated as such receive respect and protection from all of the impacts of this pandemic. Our fight is indeed for the People’s Recovery!”
1199 Union Delegate and Certified Addiction Counselor at CVH
- “I am proud to stand with workers, faith and community leaders to call for a fair and just recovery in Connecticut. Budgets are about values, and our budget should reflect our state’s values. Funding for housing, healthcare, education and social services is not just the right thing to do, it is an investment in our communities and critical to addressing systemic racial and economic inequalities in our state.”
Shawn T. Wooden
Connecticut State Treasurer
- “The pandemic has opened the eyes of the world to the lethal effects of continued social injustice. Our response to systemic racism and economic inequality affects our members, the majority of whom are people of color and immigrants, as well working people everywhere, and we need our elected leaders to react now with programs that will start righting these wrongs now.”
Assistant District Leader of 32BJ SEIU in Connecticut
- “I’m proud to join this broad coalition of labor, faith and community organizations to say loud and clear that the interests of working people must come first as our country faces and overcomes the pandemic. Thousands of families in Hartford, overwhelmingly people of color, are struggling to make ends meet. They deserve good jobs, high quality educational opportunities, affordable healthcare, and the chance to get ahead. We cannot allow Connecticut or our country to continue to be so racially and socio-economically stratified, where it feels to too many Americans like you can only get ahead if you start ahead.”
Mayor Luke Bronin
- “Our working communities are hurting badly from racial and income inequality. Connecticut must make structural changes to ensure that essential services are preserved. And that includes establishing progressive tax rates, but also implementing programs that will drive equity across all demographics in our state.”
Rep. Joshua Hall
Hartford, 7th District
At the rally, participants called for a People’s Budget to:
- Support thousands of working families who are struggling during this crisis. Financial support and training opportunities for working people in Connecticut who have lost jobs or been economically harmed by the pandemic.
- Invest in the people who make CT run. Increased funding for public services, good jobs, quality health care, affordable housing, education, small businesses, and infrastructure. No more cuts and forced austerity.
- Make a tax structure that is truly fair. Mandate that billionaires and wealthy corporations contribute their fair share to the financial health of our state. Working people—Black, white, and brown—can no longer bear the burden of an unfair tax system.
- Champion racial and gender justice. This must be a fundamental component of all recovery programs. Women, immigrants, and people of color are the backbone of our essential workforce and our communities. We must have a courageous focus on righting historical wrongs. Justice delayed is justice denied.
Black, brown and white working people have suffered the unequitable burden of our regressive tax system. This coalition of labor, community and faith organizations will work to pass legislation that raises revenue from the super-rich to fund the critical services the community needs during this pandemic and beyond.
Connecticut remains as one of the wealthiest and most unequal states in the country, with vast disparities between towns and cities and some of the largest wealth, income, and achievement gaps by race in the nation. Over the next few months, coalition members will continue to rally across the state to highlight the need to raise revenue and fund the critical services our community needs.