War Spending Resolution
This morning, the Council unanimously passed a resolution calling on the federal government to shifting its funding priorities from military operations to meeting the needs of local communities. This resolution was sponsored by the Minnesota Arms Spending Alternatives Project, (MN ASAP), an organization headed by Second Ward resident, peace activist and author Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer.
Saint Paul had already passed a similar resolution, and the campaign will be asking for Duluth and other Minnesota cities to follow suit. There is also a robust and growing list of endorsers that includes churches, nonprofits, and individuals.
The resolution we passed this morning is entirely in keeping with House Resolution 733, authored by Fifth District Congressman Keith Ellison, which calls for a solution to the fiscal crisis our country faces that cuts the military budget but leaves essential spending for our communities unscathed.
For much of the past decade, we have been living through a time of austerity in local government. We've had to work hard to find ways to keep essential services running as we face steep cuts from the state and federal governments, along with the results of the Great Recession. Most recently, the City Council has struggled to find ways to hire two much-needed 911 operators.
While local needs have been so difficult to meet, our country has been spending (and, as my colleague Barb Johnson eloquently pointed out, borrowing) billions of dollars on war and on what Dwight Eisenhower called the Military-Industrial Complex. As Washington attempts to come to grips with the "fiscal cliff," the City of Minneapolis is now on record calling on them to balance our nation's budget by cutting military spending, not programs that benefit our communities.
As Jack pointed out at a press conference we held this morning, we cannot continue to be successful as a nation if we spend more than fifty cents of each tax dollar on the military. It is simply not sustainable. We need to reinvest that money in good jobs, education, transportation and the environment.
It's important to note that this resolution clearly distinguished between spending on war and spending for our veterans. We must continue to give back to those who have given so much to our country, and this resolution does not call for any cuts to benefits, medical care, or any other support for our veterans.
I hope that today's vote by the Council will give additional momentum to a movement that will sweep across our state and country, telling our leaders in Washington that we are spending too much on war and weapons, and not enough on the real needs of our communities here at home. I am proud of our City Council today and of Minneapolis for taking a stand. I hope the state legislature will take a simliar stand and that our representatives in Congress and president will lead the country to a national budget that reflects the priorities of the people, away from short term military solutions and towards lasting peace.