Marching for a Fair Budget — Sister Dottie Almoney
As Christians, we are called to love our neighbor, and one way is through advocacy. The book of 1 Corinthians tell us in 10:24 “None of you should be looking out for your own interests, but for the interests of others.”
I had the opportunity to attend our Lutheran Day of Advocacy through LAMPa on May 22. I had listened to a speaker from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center who presented the proposed budget for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Stories of cuts, and threats of cuts, touch each and every community across Pennsylvania. From rural communities, to suburban towns to the big cities, all Pennsylvanians have been, or will be, affected. Cuts to disability services, persons who work in service industries, education, including Pre-K, and addiction recovery centers are just a few cuts that are being lobbied.
I learned, among other things, that Pennsylvania is the only state that doesn’t tax shale drilling for natural gas and we currently have a system of taxation that hurts those financially making the least. A system known as the “Delaware Loophole” allows Pennsylvania companies to register in Delaware, which is considered a tax haven and takes away millions of dollars in tax revenue in the state of PA. The more I heard, the angrier I had gotten and I knew I had to do something (thank you Holy Spirit!)
I decided, along with a few of my Lutheran friends, to attend a rally in Harrisburg on June 5th –a rally that pleaded with the legislators to promote a budget based on people, not wealthy corporations. People from all over the state of Pennsylvania were there, many different groups representing persons with disabilities, persons with addictions, people with contaminated drinking water, those whose children are left behind in underfunded schools, service workers, nurses, educators and others who would be affected by these tax cuts. Our day ended with a march of 600 persons through the city crying out for a fair budget that will enhance the lives of all Pennsylvanians, not just the most wealthy. Many visited their legislators that day to voice their concerns and all of us vowed to continue to write letters, make legislative visits and to keep fighting for justice and equity for all of God’s Children.
In the words of William Faulkner, “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.”
Sister Dottie Almoney serves as director of education and outreach at St. Peter’s Lutheran in Lancaster.