Called Rebuilding Our Economic Future, the coalition called for increases in revenue to balance the state budget.
Teachers and parents spoke about the need to restore funding to keep class sizes small and support early childhood education. College students and faculty asked for no further tuition hikes and increased financial aid.
State employees asked that the safety net not be cut further for families hard hit by the Great Recession. One big concern is eliminating the State Basic Health Plan, which would throw 65,000 low-income people in the state into the ranks of the uninsured.Legislators favoring the passage of new revenues also spoke.
Last year, the Legislature cut $3.6 billion from the state budget for 2009 -2011. These reductions cut education and health care and programs for kids, the elderly and disabled, and the clean up toxic waste sites and protection of clean air and water.
This year $2.6 billion in cuts to state programs is being proposed. Lawmakers are looking at ways to increase revenue to prevent such deep reductions.Their group, smaller in numbers, called for cuts in taxes at another rally earlier in the day.
See “State Budget Shortfalls May Reach $180 Billion This Year” for details on what’s happening in states across the nation in these tough economic times.
The 10 states with the worst budget problems are Oregon, Vermont, Washington, Connecticut, Arizona, Nevada, Illinois, New York, Alaska, and New Jersey, according to ABC News/Money’s “Budget Nightmare: 10 Most Broke States.”