Tuesday, February 22, 2011

AN INTERFAITH CALL FOR A JUST AND EQUITABLE BUDGET

From: Wisconsin Council of Churches
Sent: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 8:55 AM


PRESS RELEASE
February 22, 2011

For Immediate Release

AN INTERFAITH CALL FOR A JUST AND EQUITABLE BUDGET


Dear Friends,

Today, Tuesday, February 22nd, at 10:30 a.m. a "Calling for Justice" Press
Conference will be held on the front steps of Grace Episcopal Church, 116 W.
Washington St. in Madison. This press conference is convened by the
Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice, Madison-area Urban Ministry, WISDOM
and the Worker's Rights Center to call on the Governor and State Legislature
to pass a budget that is equitable, protects both worker's rights and the
most vulnerable among us, shares the sacrifice among all sectors of our
community, including the business community and the wealthy.

Sacrifice Must Be Shared

Budgets are moral documents. They convey our values and priorities. As
people of faith we have sincere concerns that the Governor's Budget Repair
bill does not adequately protect the rights of workers, or the most
vulnerable in our state via Medicaid, BadgerCare. While we understand that
Wisconsin faces a difficult time economically, as people of faith we are
obligated to call for a budget that:

* Protects the most vulnerable among us. Medicaid, SeniorCare and
BadgerCare provide crucial medical services to hundreds of thousands of
individuals and families in our state and those individuals must be
protected.
* BadgerCare, a program providing health coverage to the working poor
must be continued to protect hard working families unable to access medical
insurance through their employers.
* Steep cuts in education funding and support for the social safety
net will have many unintended consequences that will be devastating and far
outweigh any short term financial saving.
* Throughout our shared holy texts we are called to treat workers
fairly. The rights of workers to collectively bargain must be preserved.
* The financial sacrifices must be shared. The Legislature has already
passed over one hundred million dollars in tax cuts for corporations, as
well as tax cuts for health savings accounts which are primarily used by
wealthier individuals. At the same time, public sector employees who
comprise a significant portion of the middle class are being asked to in
essence give up thousands of dollars in take home pay through increases in
their health insurance and pension, this is not shared sacrifice.

Following the press conference clergy will move to the Capital to hold a
prayer vigil as the Assembly takes up consideration of the Governor's Bill.

Madison-area Urban Ministry is an interfaith non-profit organization
supported in part by Dane County faith communities and focused on social
justice advocacy and direct services to individuals and families affected by
incarceration.

The Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice is a coalition of congregations,
labor unions and concerned individuals in south central Wisconsin focused on
economic justice and workers' rights.

WISDOM is a statewide network of congregational coalitions affiliated with
Gamaliel Foundation focused on congregation based organizing and advocacy.

The Workers' Rights Center is a community center that assists low wage
workers in south central Wisconsin assert their workplace rights and work on
policy campaigns to affect change.

Please share this information with your colleagues and congregations. If you
have questions please feel free to contact us.

Contacts:

Linda Ketcham, Director, Madison-area Urban Ministry 608-256-0906

Rabbi Renee Bauer, Director, Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice of
South Central WI 608-255-0376 ext. 3

David Liners, WISDOM, 414-736-2099

Patrick Hickey, Director, Workers' Rights Center, 608-255-0376 ext. 2

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