As the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the municipal and state budget forecasts have become dire. Across-the-board budget cuts in Portland will result in 30-plus workers being laid off with dozens more facing furloughs and lost wages. Similar cuts are expected for state workers, with Gov. Mills requesting department heads to cut 10 percent across the board.

Meanwhile, in Washington, a Republican-controlled Senate refuses to consider financial assistance that would lessen or eliminate these cuts that are affecting thousands nationwide. Congress previously passed aid for cities that have populations of more than 500,000, which does nothing for Maine.

It is simplistic to echo the talking points from the Senate majority and White House that cities and states “deserve” austerity measures. It is important for all working people to remember that when cuts happen, they affect our jobs and wages, regardless of what Washington tells you to pay attention to.

I urge you to contact Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and ask them to support working Mainers and pass state and local economic aid.

Ben Freedman
vice president, IAFF Local 740, Portland Professional Firefighters
Brooksville resident

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