Weekly Newsletter - May 24, 2017
- News and Updates -
LETTER TO MEMBERS
Dear Talbot Rising members, from Denice Lombard
I want to give you an update on some changes in Talbot Rising and discussions on plans for our future.
As you know, Mike Pullen is planning to run against Andy Harris. Because of that, he will no longer be a leader in TR. Several people have volunteered to join me as a leadership team to guide the organization. They are Bob Day, Bob Tiernan, Ridgely Ochs and Heather Harvey.
As a new organization Talbot Rising has accomplished a lot so far! It’s time now to plan for The Long Haul – between now and the 2018 election. The leadership team and the Coordinating Committee have been discussing plans for our future work, but we need to hear from you as well. Very soon you will receive a survey by email with 10 questions designed to find out what you think TR should focus on, what issues are at the top of your agenda locally, statewide and nationally, and what you can contribute to TalbotRising going forward.
We will then have a general meeting at the Quaker Meeting House on June 24 or 25 (TBD) to discuss and finalize a plan going forward.
We appreciate each of your commitment to the important work of Talbot Rising and look forward to hearing what you are thinking!
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT NUCLEAR WEAPONS
A program produced by Talbot Rising and shown on the public access channel MCTV explored in depth the problems of our vast nuclear arsenal and the potential for confrontation with North Korea. The discussion was moderated by Ridgely Ochs, and two experts, Jim Brennan, who worked for the Department of Defense, and Harvey Zendt, who works with Mayors for Peace, which was founded by mayors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The program examined how we got to this stage of a potential showdown and what we should know about it. This is part of a continuing series of video programs on timely topics. Previous issues included health care and immigration. The program is available on YouTube at this link: https://youtu.be/aXbQ9mLg_XY
IMMIGRATION PROJECT EXCEEDED ITS GOAL
Mid-Shore Pro Bono was able to raise $2,800 toward its Vulnerable Population Assistance Project to help those facing immigration issues. The program, which was funded as part of a CrowdJustice campaign, will help fund an effort to match those in need with help and advice in an immigration matter.
VOLUNTEERS STILL NEEDED
The Outreach committee has a number of events needing help to spread the word about our organization:
Sat. June 3 - Clean Water Concert Series
Family Night - Easton - 6-9 pm
Involves children's activity and could use a few more pairs of hands
Sat. June 17 - Juneteenth Celebration - Academy Museum, Easton - 1-4 pm
1 or 2 people requested
Sat. June 24 AND Sat. July 8 - Clean Water concert Series - Easton - 6-9 PM
1 or 2 people requested
This Week's Action Items
#1: SHOW THE IMPACT OF ACA REPEAL
Are you interested in collaborating on creating a graphic representation of the impact of the AHCA if passed? Kent/Queen Anne’s County Indivisible is installing 900 pairs of shoes in a park in Chestertown on July 6 to do this. We have discussed with them and folks from Together We Will - Delmarva (who put on the Kent Island townhall on healthcare and worked with us on the Harris townhall) and we would like to collaborate and have installations in Bel Air, Kent Island, Salisbury and Easton, along with Chestertown. If you are interested in working on this project contact firstname.lastname@example.org
#2: OPPOSE HOGAN'S VETO OF PAID SICK LEAVE
Gov. Larry Hogan has vetoed the Healthy Working Families Act, which would have employers above a certain size allow workers to earn time toward paid sick leave. Even though the bill passed handily in the Legislature, Hogan rejected it and wants to set up a study commission ahead of the next legislative session. Let him know that you oppose his action and want him to work with the majorities that passed the measure.
Call his office at 410-974-3901.
#3: MARCH FOR TRUTH
Jun 3, 11 am - 2:00 pm
Lafayette Park, Pennsylvania Ave NW & 16th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20001
Join a coalition of grassroots organizers and organizations that are demanding an impartial investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and ties to Donald Trump and his associates.
#4: PROTEST EDUCATION CUTS
The White House’s preliminary budget proposal contains a $9.2 billion cut to the Department of Education with $400 million will be spent to expand charter schools and private and religious school vouchers. Take action to sign a petition opposing the cuts by going to networkforpubliceducation.org
JUNE 3 - CLEAN WATER OUTDOOR CONCERT
Details: 6-9 pm on Harrison Street, Easton
Members of Talbot Rising will have a table where we will share information about our efforts with the community. We will have a table at the concert also on June 24th.
JUNE 17 - JUNETEENTH
Details: 1-4 pm Easton
The Academy Art Museum and the Frederick Douglass Honor Society are hosting the 6th annual Juneteenth Celebration on Saturday, June 17 at the Academy Art Museum in Easton. The program is free. For further information, visit academyartmuseum.org or call 410-822-2787.
JULY 2 - IMPEACHMENT MARCH
Details: 10 am, Washington, DC and other major cities
Various groups that helped organize the Tax Day March in April will meet in the nation's capital to march and call for the impeachment of President Trump.
- News and Updates -
COALITION PROTESTS AHCA ON CAPITOL HILL
A spirited group of about 30 people rallied on Capitol Hill last Thursday to protest members of Congress who voted for the AHCA. People were from Carroll CAN, Together We Will – Delmarva, Kent/Queen Anne’s County Indivisible, Dorchester Indivisible and Talbot Rising. Many school groups walked by, some students joining in the rhythm of the chants, and some clapping in support. Denice Lombard said it was great to met new people and talk about coalition building in the 1st Congressional District. Afterwards, several people went to Rep. Andy Harris’ office to voice their displeasure at his vote for AHCA.
*** KEEP WATCH FOR SCHOOL, EMERGENCY FUNDING
The Talbot County Council hopes to introduce a Resolution that would increase its ability to provide revenue for local services such as Emergency Services. The Resolution is intended to place a question on the ballot about changing the revenue cap. TalbotRising members are encouraged to follow the introduction of the Resolution, and the development of the ballot question as it relates to public school funding. The Resolution must be introduced no later than July, 2018, but could be introduced much sooner. Often referred to as the “tax cap”, the revenue cap limits the annual increase in revenue that can be gained from property taxes. When the current cap on revenue was established in 1997, it was decreed that revenue should not increase, compared to the previous year, by more than 2% or by the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers (CPI-U) percentage of change, whichever is less. In 1997, the CPI-U ranged from 2.9-3.3 over several years, so the 2% figure was intended to protect taxpayers from drastic increases.
Since 2014, the CPI-U has steadily decreased from 1.7% to .7%. The most recent decreases in anticipated revenue caused the county to transfer $2 million from a contingency fund to balance the budget. Modest property tax increases, however, could make a big difference to local services. According to the Talbot Teachers Association, every $.01 increase in the tax revenue rate will generate approximately $700,000 for the county. Talbot County has the lowest property tax rate in the state. The difference between taxes with the current cap and a 2% cap would range from $19.60 for property assessed at $200,000 to $49 for property assessed at $500,000.
While the school system currently is exempt by state law from operation of Talbot County’s revenue cap, this exemption can create other difficulties. The County Council may appropriate funding for schools in excess of the revenue authorized by the cap, but another state law requires that an ensuing year’s revenues may not be less than previously-provided on a per-pupil basis. So if County Council increases school funding, they must “maintain that effort.” An increase in local revenue would provide council a means to maintain adequate school funding.
Once the County Council introduces their Resolution, there will be a period of public comment regarding the wording of the ballot question. Public work sessions likely will be scheduled, including with the Talbot Taxpayers’ Association, the group that lobbied for the revenue cap initially. The ballot question must be certified no later than mid-August, 2018. Also, on May 24 watch this webinar that explores threats from the Trump administration to school funding:
WARNING SIGNS ON NAFTA TRADE NEGOTIATIONS
The Trump administration issued formal notification last week that it intends to seek changes in the North American Free Trade Agreement. And progressive groups are paying close attention to the lobbying going on already. Our Revolution Board Chair and former CWA President Larry Cohen said, “NATFA must be renegotiated, and must benefit working class families in all three countries, not just corporations and billionaires. Corporations and the very wealthy cannot be allowed to dictate how NAFTA is renegotiated. Already, hundreds of corporate trade advisors that produced NAFTA and the TPP have been consulted on NAFTA renegotiations, while the environmental, consumer and labor advisors were shut out. We demand an open negotiation process, so we can see who this trade deal actually benefits."