|For further information contact:
Diane Farsetta, firstname.lastname@example.org, 608-250-9240, cell 608-886-4757
Kyle Richmond, Dane County Board Supervisor, 608-251-3171
For immediate release: January 10, 2013
Dane County passes "Bring Our War Dollars Home" resolution
Board urges President, Congress to redirect excessive military spending
Tonight, the Dane County Board passed a "Bring Our War Dollars Home" (BOW$H) resolution introduced by Supervisor Kyle Richmond and drafted with help from the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice (WNPJ), on a vote of 26 supporting, 5 opposing and 5 absent or abstaining. The resolution urges the President and Congress to redirect resources from the excessive U.S. military budget, to fund housing, jobs, veterans, infrastructure, debt reduction and environmental programs, and encourages other local governments to pass similar resolutions.
"As the federal debate around budgetary issues continues, it is vitally important that those of us outside the Washington DC bubble provide real context," said Diane Farsetta, Executive Director of WNPJ. "For example, the supposedly catastrophic automatic cuts to the Pentagon budget would simply return U.S. military spending to more than 2006 levels. I am proud that Dane County added its voice tonight to a growing grassroots movement demanding that we bring our war dollars home."
While local, county and state budgets have shrunk, U.S. military spending has nearly doubled since 2001. The current federal debate has focused on tax rates, Social Security and Medicare, ignoring the fact that U.S. military spending -- at $832 billion a year, nearly half of all discretionary spending -- could be cut by 80 percent and still remain the largest military budget in the world.
Communities across the country have passed BOW$H resolutions, calling for the redirection of resources from the Pentagon to domestic needs. In September 2012, the Milwaukee city council unanimously passed a BOW$H resolution, as did the American Federation of Teachers-Wisconsin labor union at its October 2012 state convention. Other communities that have passed resolutions include Duluth, Minneapolis, St Paul, Philadelphia, Seattle, Los Angeles and Portland, Maine as well as Portland, Oregon.
The Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice (wnpj.org), a statewide network of more than 170 organizations, is supporting efforts to pass BOW$H resolutions around the state. Wisconsin residents can look up their community's share of the bills for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the Pentagon's ten most costly weapons systems on the WNPJ website.
In Dane County, residents have paid $2.3 billion for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars alone since 2001. If that money had instead stayed here, local governments could have:
Provided every 18-year-old in the county with a four-year university scholarship since 2002; or
Dramatically lowered elementary school class sizes by adding 11 new teachers for every 100 students in 2002 and retaining those teachers; or
Fully funded VA Health Care for virtually all county veterans from 2002 to today.