Texas poor say “No more!”

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DALLAS -- Local activists with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Dallas Peace Center and others called a "Poor People's Rally" outside City Hall here, June 23. About 100 people were able to get downtown at the noon rally in 100-degree heat. It was a scorcher.

Faced with city, state and national campaigns to get people to accept more cuts in our living standards, the crowd was ready to dig in their heels.

Here in Dallas, a $130 million budget shortfall has brought proposals of closing more libraries and swimming pools while laying-off hundreds of skilled city workers. But, it hasn't stopped city-subsidized construction on a new "designer" bridge across the Trinity River. The city does plan to convert the old bridge into a park. Another big park is under construction in the arts district, near the new symphony hall.

The State of Texas says they need $18 billion to break even in the legislative session that begins in January. Their proposals, so far, are to introduce more gambling and to crowd public school students into classrooms. The Texas AFL-CIO has demanded that they start spending the state's "Rainy Day Fund" before starting layoffs, but the Republican governor and top state politicians are not responding.

Gathering people's input to resolve the national budget crisis is the ostensible purpose of a number of linked "town hall" meetings across the country on June 26. But, according to economist Dean Baker, the proceedings are apparently rigged to turn out no "solutions" other than more cuts for working people and retirees. Baker wrote the meetings will be "...another milestone in the drive to cut Social Security and Medicare."

The Dallas newspaper encouraged people to attend, but also revealed that the Chamber of Commerce, one of working peoples' worst enemies, was helping organize the event!

Photo: Jim Lane/PW