Senator Scott Brown faces new grassroots backlash on budget stance

Senator out of step with public on tax breaks for large corporations and the super-rich

BOSTON – After recently telling a group of seniors in Brighton that he would prioritize tax breaks for oil companies and the super-rich ahead of programs like Medicare and Social Security, Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown (R) has staked out a budget stance that leaves him severely at odds with his constituents and national public opinion. He has also unwittingly triggered a grassroots backlash to his comments, galvanizing a diverse set of Massachusetts advocacy organizations against his position on the hot national budget debate.

Advocates have scheduled a press conference for Wednesday, August 17, at Noon, outside Brown’s Boston office to kick off what organizers say will be a vigorous and sustained grassroots and public campaign against the Senator’s controversial budget stance throughout the Congressional recess and super committee process. The groups say they want Brown to take a public position – and weigh in with super committee members – in favor of eliminating Bush era tax handouts for large corporations and the super-rich.

“I am terribly disappointed that Senator Brown would prioritize big oil companies over Medicare and Medicaid,” said Ann Stewart, 87, of Mattapan, MA, President of the Massachusetts Senior Action Council. “It’s aggravating to see him go to such great lengths to defend these ridiculous tax handouts to large corporations and the richest 1%. I know many of them are his big donors, but that shouldn’t make him forget about the seniors and kids who rely on Medicare and Medicaid.”

“We are hoping that Scott Brown will join the rest of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation in supporting a balanced approach to budget negotiations that includes shared sacrifice from large corporations and billionaires – rather than clinging to a misguided stance that hurts low and middle-income families,” said Wilnelia Rivera, Campaigns Director for Neighbor to Neighbor, a statewide organization of low-income families who advocate for economic justice.

According to a number of recent national polls, by nearly a 2 to 1 margin the American public supports withdrawing tax breaks for corporations and super rich individuals in order to help resolve national budget shortfalls. Those findings put Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown squarely at odds with public sentiment as the nation anticipates negotiations by the recently appointed super-committee charged with leading Congressional budget negotiations.

A poll commissioned in part by area healthcare workers concerned about cuts to Medicare and Medicaid shows that margin is likely even wider in Massachusetts, where 74% of respondents recently said they disapprove of Brown’s position against “any revenue increase to help reduce the federal debt – even the elimination of huge tax breaks for the oil industry and companies that send jobs overseas.”

At the August 17 press conference, organizers of the event will debut a massive mobile billboard that will be present at a number of upcoming events attended by Senator Brown, including a GOP fundraiser in Dartmouth Wednesday evening and a Lowell Spinners game on Monday, August 22, where Scott Brown “bobble-head dolls” will be distributed. The truck-mounted billboard reads: “Scott Brown: Listen to the people. We can’t afford the Bush tax handouts to corporations and super rich anymore. Don’t sell out seniors and kids.”

Meanwhile, select groups within the coalition sponsoring Wednesday’s press conference will be kicking off individual advertising and protest actions against Brown’s budget stance in weeks ahead, including radio and newspaper advertising informing the public of Brown’s revenue stance within the budget debate, and pushing him to reconsider.

WHO: Members of the Massachusetts Coalition for a Working Economy including: 1199SEIU Massachusetts • Citizen’s Housing and Planning Association • Coalition for Social Justice/Coalition Against Poverty • Crittenton Women’s Union • Greater Boston Labor Council • Massachusetts Alliance of HUD tenants • Massachusetts Communities Action Network • Massachusetts Jobs with Justice • Massachusetts Teachers Association • Mass Senior Action • MassUniting • MoveOn.Org Greater Boston • National Association of Social Workers • Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts • One Massachusetts • Public Policy Institute • SEIU 509 • SEIU 615 • SEIU State Council • The Grace Team • United Auto Workers Massachusetts State CAP Council • United for a Fair Economy

WHAT: Press conference against Senator Scott Brown’s stance on the national budget debate

WHEN: Wednesday, August 17, Noon

WHERE: Senator Scott Brown’s office at JFK Federal Building (on the side of the building facing City Hall plaza), 15 New Sudbury Street, Boston, MA

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