Fredericksburg, VA– Virginia Organizing held a public “budget seesaw” demonstration in front of the Fredericksburg School Board Building. With the school board building as the backdrop, the group used a children’s seesaw to demonstrate that when cuts are made to education or other vital services, the whole state gets out of balance.
"We are tired of dealing with drastic local cuts to education and then reading about supposed surpluses. The real long-term solution to our budget crisis lies in a balanced approach that includes revenue and fixes our broken, old, tax system. A cuts-only approach is reckless," said Alane Callandar Fredericksburg resident and member of the Virginia Organizing Budget and Revenue Committee. "Balance is a concept that a three year old understands when she plays on her seesaw. We are here today to demonstrate the need for balance in our budget and tax structure and to ask our state legislators: are you smarter than a three year old?"
Tuesday’s event was part of Balance Virginia, a public education campaign of Virginia Organizing. Balance Virginia has been holding workshops statewide on budget and revenue issues. The group is focused on opposing cuts to social services and education.
“These cuts are taking money away from our children and their future. Education is the last thing that we should be cutting and schools and libraries are often the first to be cut. So many people rely on the library to look for jobs that is unconscionable to take that service away in the middle of record unemployment. We have cut to the bone and our children and our community will now pay the price. It is time to look at the possibility of raising new revenue,” said Linda Powell of Fredericksburg.
Virginia Organizing has two goals for the upcoming General Assembly session. The first is that future budget decisions made by the state government balance existing budget cuts with new revenue. The second goal is to modernize the state's "old and rusty" tax structure so that everyone pays their fair share. “A recent report on the tax structures of all 50 states found that low and middle income families in Virginia pay a higher share of their income in state and local taxes than do the richest families,” said Janice “Jay” Johnson, Chairperson of Virginia Organizing. “We are all making sacrifices in this financial climate and we should not be paying a higher percentage of our income to taxes than the wealthiest Americans. Virginia has a state income tax structure that is almost a flat tax. Our tax structure is regressive and simply unfair.”