HOLYOKE- Last Thursday at The Waterfront Tavern, Citizens for the Revitalization and Urban Success of Holyoke (C.R.U.S.H.) gathered for a chance to network with like-minded residents and hear community leaders discuss the impacts of ballot question 1 on life in the Paper City.
Question 1 is a referendum on the November 4 election ballot that if passed would by law eliminate the state income tax as of January 1, 2009. The Vote No on 1 campaign was invited to speak at the event and called the referendum a “reckless idea”.
Pamela C. Schwartz, Western MA Field Director for the statewide Coalition for Our Communities, said that without the state income tax we would see wide-ranging reductions in everything from public safety to education to funds for roads and bridges, libraries and parks.
“Question 1 would eliminate over 40 percent of the state’s budget. Times are hard enough and this is a lose-lose proposition” said Schwartz.
Holyoke community leaders John Kelley, President of the Holyoke Tax Payer’s Association; Attorney Jay Driscoll of The Government Affairs Committee for the Chamber of Commerce; and Caleb Snow, acting President of the Holyoke Teacher’s Association, each spoke in turn about how, from their perspectives, Question 1 would have devastating effects on the local economy and the city’s ability to provide many valuable services.
John Kelley emphasized the growing $1.5 billion state budget deficit. “Add to this an elimination of the state income tax and the results would be devastating to cities like ours. We would have to look to alternative sources of revenue that are anti-business and anti-consumer such as increases in sales tax, meals tax, user fees or potentially increases in property taxes”.
C.R.U.S.H. member City Councilor Rebecca Lisi said, “We need to look within city and highlight the experts and experiences that can illustrate how this referendum will affect the way we live in Holyoke”.
C.R.U.S.H. gave the Vote No on 1 campaign a venue to speak at because many city services, including large portions of both the city and public school budgets, rely on state funding. C.R.U.S.H. members are creating a place where residents can overcome race, class, or gender differences and begin using the talent and organization within Holyoke to talk about issues that have hard-hitting effects on the entire community.
C.R.U.S.H. on Holyoke can be found on-line at www.crushonholyoke.org