Saying “Richmond’s residents deserve better”, community and labor groups united in the Lift Up Richmond coalition reject Mayor Tom Butt’s consultant’s budget proposal as vague, misguided, anti-democratic, and bad for Richmond’s residents
Richmond, California – Consultant group Management Partners is scheduled to present a set of so-called budget guidelines at Richmond’s City Council meeting on Tuesday, February 23: the Lift Up Richmond coalition of community and labor groups is demanding these guidelines be scrapped and calling on the Mayor to start the process of creating a fiscal policy from scratch, this time, beginning with input from the community, including City Council, labor unions, small businesses, and community organizations.
The proposal prioritizes cutting City spending and building up reserve fund balances, a year into a global health and economic crisis that has killed millions and put countless people out of work. Developed without collaboration with Richmond’s City Council, small businesses, community members, and labor organizations, the policies are vague, leaving terms like “significant” completely undefined, and where the policies are clear, they are poor, such as giving the City Manager blanket authority to make cuts, and leaving City Council powerless to invest in much-needed services for Richmond residents.
According to Ballotpedia, Richmond voters overwhelmingly approved Measure U in November, “authorizing a business tax of 0.06% to 5% of gross receipts, with higher rates being assigned to marijuana businesses, firearm businesses and big businesses, generating an estimated $9.5 million per year for city services including emergency response, street repair, homeless services and youth services.”
“Budgets are not just numbers in a spreadsheet,” said Gregory Everetts, a Parks and Landscape Division worker with the City of Richmond and president of the Richmond chapter of SEIU Local 1021, “Budgets show what our values really are. The City of Richmond needs a fiscal policy, but the residents of Richmond need that policy to reflect their needs, not just the administration’s desire to fatten up the reserve fund while the people of Richmond are suffering. Richmond’s residents deserve better than this.”
The undersigned individuals and organizations call on City Council to reject this proposal and begin crafting a common-sense fiscal policy that puts services for residents first, over building up reserve funds, and is built collaboratively, inclusively, and transparently, with input from the community members with a stake in Richmond’s budget and the values it puts into action.
The Lift Up Richmond coalition is made up of Richmond community and labor groups, including ACCE Action, APEN, IFPTE Local 21, the Richmond Progressive Alliance, RYSE, and SEIU Local 1021.
Allen Payton contributed to this report.