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MAINE LEADERS TO ADDRESS STATE FISCAL CRISIS

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NEWS CONFERENCE TO CALL FOR CUTS IN WAR SPENDING AS VEHICLE TO FUND STATE PROGRAMS


For Immediate Release

Contact: Bruce Gagnon 443-9502 or Lisa Savage 399-7623


Leaders from peace, church, health care, education, and social service communities will hold a news conference in Augusta, Maine on Thursday, January 14 at 11:00 am to call for cuts in war spending as a way to help Maine state government deal with its current fiscal crisis. The news conference will be held in the Hall of Flags inside the state capital in Augusta.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have already cost Maine taxpayers $2.5 billion according to the National Priorities Project.

"If not for the money that has been wasted on the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan we would not be in the fiscal crisis that we face today in Maine," said Lisa Savage, public school teacher and a leader in the new statewide coalition called Bring Our War $$ Home.


"We will bring people together from around the state who are willing to address the elephant in the middle of the room. Our spending on endless war is killing the national economy as more than 40 states are now in fiscal crisis. We are not going to be able to cut our way out of this mess, tax our way out, nor will we be able to "grow' our way out of this. Unless we cut military spending immediately there will be no serious recovery and no real stabilization of our state budget," Savage stated.

A recent study, "The Employment Effects of Downsizing the U.S. Military" by UMASS-Amherst Economics Department, found that military spending actually creates fewer jobs than any other kind of investment.

The UMASS study reveals that for every $1 billion of spending on military production 8,555 jobs are created. But when that same amount of money is spent on home weatherization 12,804 jobs are created or when spent on education 17,687 jobs result.

"The little reported truth is that military spending is bad for the economy and creates fewer jobs and less tax revenue for state and local government than does other kinds of investment," said Savage.

Bring Our War $$ Home is calling on all elected officials in Maine to immediately begin addressing this issue of mounting military spending while education, social spending, and infrastructure funding are cut.

Among those planning to speak at the January 14 news conference in Augusta are:

Michael Brennan former State Senator from Portland
Dr. Robert Hayes - D.O. from Winslow
Rachel Talbott Ross NAACP from Portland
Lisa Savage Peace activist and public school teacher from Solon
Rep. Peter Stuckey State Representative from Portland
Mary Beth Sullivan Social worker from Bath
Rev. Gary Vencill United Methodist Church minister from Prospect

Bring Our War $$ Home is a new coalition in Maine that intends to actively take this message to the citizens across the state. The coalition is made up of the following organizations: Americans Who Tell the Truth; Camp Alex For Peace; Code Pink Maine; Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space; The Kennebunks Peace Department; Maine Green Independent Party; Maine Veterans for Peace; Midcoast Peace & Justice; Pax Christi Maine; Peace Action Maine; Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine; PeaceWorks; Peninsula Peace & Justice - Blue Hill; Union of Maine Visual Artists; and Waterville Area Bridges for Peace & Justice

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Bruce Gagnon is the Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.

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