State legislatures are now in session. Lawmakers in nearly every state, including Idaho, are faced with budget shortfalls that will mean devastating cuts to the social safety net: health care, education, and services for immigrants. In response to this crisis, Idaho Community Action Network, an Alliance for a Just Society affiliate, kicked off a season of direct action to advance policies that increase revenues and preserve public programs that are critical to communities. Appropriately, they did so on Martin Luther King Day, a day when the message of social, racial, and economic justice is amplified.
On MLK Day, ICAN gathered nearly 200 people at the Statehouse in Boise to present the Governor and lawmakers with their own “Kitchen Table Principles” for a fair and equitable budget. Board chair Terri Sterling presented the principles, which ask legislators to address the community as a whole in all budget-making decisions, to anchor the budget in racial and economic equality, be committed to strong public structures like education, childcare, and health centers, and to address the revenue crisis and stop lowering taxes for the wealthy and for corporations.
The crowd booed loudly when Sterling spoke of the corporate actions that have left so financially devastated and without homes. “We have seen how the banks and financial institutions drove up the prices of our homes, gave us shaky financing, and then used robo signers to take our homes away. Left alone, do you think they will do the right thing?” They cheered when asked, “This corporate irresponsibility has to stop, right?”