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Letter: Urge council to champion national changes

To the Editor:

With economic, social and environmental cuts, many people are unable to cope with poverty, hunger, homelessness, physical and mental challenges of everyday living.

MN ASAP -- Minnesota Arms Spending Alternatives Project Resolution -- is designed to shift federal funding priorities from war to meeting the essential needs of everyone.

St. Thomas University Professor Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer initiated this resolution. Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth city councils have passed it.

A concerned group took it before the Red Wing City Council where it was defeated for lack of a second. The reason given was that it was too political.

We are trying again April 22.

Why should local governments be concerned about federal government policy on taxes and spending? In 2000, Minnesota taxpayers spent approximately $290 million on the federal military budget. In 2012, that rose to $526 million.

This year, Red Wing taxpayers will send about $25 million to Washington, slightly more than $1,500 from each citizen, including children. This equates to 59 cents for every dollar. About $6 million goes to military expenditures in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In return, Minnesota receives declining federal revenue for school, infrastructure and public health.

There could be a thought that those in need are primarily from Minneapolis, St. Paul or the Iron Range. But Red Wing has been affected by cutbacks:

1) The school orchestra program was discontinued.

2) Red Wing Library reduced hours.

3) The Red Wing Food Shelf has a steady rise in people needing food.

4) In 2012, our Care Clinic has served 515 new patients, 930 returning patients and 388 dental patients.

So why should the Red Wing City Council adopt a resolution opposing excessive federal military spending?

Both major political parties, dominated by corporate spending and lobbying, continue along the path of endless spending on endless wars that profit a wealthy few and increasingly harm the rest of the population.

The only recourse is to create a vast movement for change, which will ultimately put forward leaders who truly seek to promote the general welfare. Local governments have a chance to join in creating such a movement.

Attend the April 22 City Council meeting. We want to be recognized as a community of concerned, caring and compassionate people.

Lynne Rigg

Red Wing