The People’s Budget Campaign
"Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control." Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
The People’s Budget Project is examining whether the state of Vermont is fulfilling its human rights obligations, which include meeting Vermonters’ fundamental needs of healthcare, housing, education, and work with dignity. The project is a collaboration carried out with a range of partners and allies, including the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI) and advisers from three New England universities.
On Human Rights Day, December 10, 2010, we released a report with preliminary findings of the People’s Budget Project.
Based on interviews with service providers, our report finds that the state of Vermont is neglecting its human rights obligations by cutting public services and public jobs in a time of economic crisis. This has had a significant negative impact on Vermonters, especially on already disadvantaged groups, who are struggling to meet their fundamental needs of housing, healthcare, food, education, and work.
Our report was based on 16 interviews we conducted with non-profit service providers between September and November 2010. They presented us with overwhelming evidence that the government cut essential services and jobs despite rising needs among Vermonters, and therefore failed to protect economic and social rights.
In the future, we will continue to develop tools for a human rights audit of the state’s budget, in order to assess whether a state’s revenue and expenditure policies meet human rights standards. We also want to engage Vermonters in reviewing the state’s budget decisions. This means we need to ensure that there are opportunities for participating in the government’s decision-making processes.
UPDATE: On March 19, 2011 the Vermont Workers' Center launched "Put People First! The People's Budget Campaign", lean more and sign petition at www.workerscenter.org/peoplesbudget
Read VWC President Peg Franzen's Blog: "Governor Shumlin's proposed budget continues to place the highest burden on the most disadvantaged Vermonters" here: http://www.workerscenter.org/node/706