Text of speech at Building a Better Budget Rally

I'm Sandy Gaffney. I was of a member of Mobile Home Park Residents for Equality and Fairness. We organized to be heard about what our needs actually were and to get them met. After the flood I came to realize that many of our needs weren't being met for a long long time and that I could work to change things. As a result I am a member of the Vermont Workers Center and here today.

The Vermont Workers Center is calling for a people's Budget intended to ensure that the fundamental human needs of every Vermonter are met. The requirement to meet human needs is a reflection of government's inalienable obligation to respect, protect and fulfill the human rights of every Vermonter.

In order to achieve government that puts people first--government that strengthens our communities instead of allowing wealth to be concentrated in the pockets of a tiny minority--we need to begin to treat our economic system as a public good.

The private banking system, particularly as a result of three decades of deregulation and inadequate oversight, is not accountable to our communities. A state bank could become the basis for finance that serves the public good and allows for the kind of accountability that a stable financial system and the public interest require. (see State Bank bill H.542)

For decades, we have seen the productivity of American workers rise, while the incomes of hardworking people has been stagnant and the middle class has shrunk. What we have seen is financial systems replacing economic systems and corporate CEOs being rewarded exorbitantly for behaviors that are destructlive of our communities and of the economy itself. The issue is not whether these salaries are necessary to attract executive "talent". the issue is whether Vermonters want to reward business that create jobs for working people of businesses that overpay their executives. If businesses that overpay their executives are threatened by H.549 then the logical way for them to respond would be to move toward economic justice.

These three bills move Vermont in the direction of putting people first. they address the human rights principles of equity, accountability and transparency. The members of the Vermont Workers Center support these efforts and efforts like them.

Learn more about the People's Budget by going to www.workerscenter.org/peoplesbudget