Massachusetts Budget4All Tax Day Events: A Recap by Daniel Habtemariam

Progressive Newton was in attendance on Saturday as activists and
 organizers from around the Commonwealth convened in Boston for a Tax
 Day rally and forum in support of the Budget for All.

 The theme of the day was, “We pay our taxes. Are we getting what we need?

 The day featured a broad array of speakers from political, social, and
 faith-based groups that each highlighted the inequities inherent in a
 tax code rigged to favor the privileged and the powerful and the
 consequences of an American budget increasingly being pushed to favor
 militarism and devalue social and societal needs.

Protesters began the day outside Bank of America, denouncing it for
 paying no federal taxes in 2013, a practice made possible by loopholes
 carved out in tax law for companies like Bank of America, General
Electric, and Exxon Mobil, which are among the largest and most
profitable companies in the world.  The crowd was vibrant and with
 banners and posters flying high drew the attention of hundreds of
 passersby and elicited more than a few honks and waves from members of
 the public.

 In the afternoon, the group marched to a nearby church and held a
 forum to hear from community and political leaders about how we got to
 this point and what we can do about it.  Speakers ranged from Senator
 Elizabeth Warren (by video) to Grace Ross from the National Alliance
 of HUD Tenants to the venerable civil rights activist and former state
 representative Mel King to freshman Congresswoman Katherine Clark.  A
 framework for action included a diverse set of initiatives, including
 immediate measures like collecting signatures for the Raise Up
 Massachusetts minimum wage and earned sick time ballot initiatives, as
 championed by Harris Gruman of the SEIU’s State Political Director, to medium-term
 measures like lobbying the six Massachusetts congressmen who voted NO
 to the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ Better Off Budget last week,
 as championed by Michael Kane, to more long-term initiatives like
 proposals to wipe out childhood poverty in Massachusetts, as
 championed by gubernatorial candidate Don Berwick.

 Progressive Newton is no stranger to the Raise Up Massachusetts ballot
 initiatives, as it helped to collect thousands of signatures in the
 first round of petitioning last fall.  The day ended with thanks from
 the organizers, and the crowd disbursed with a renewed vision for the
 future of our society and an enriched understanding of the
 trickle-down consequences of a budget that favors the few.

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