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Missouri AFSCME calls for justice, structural solutions in Ferguson

Executive Director Jeff Mazur of AFSCME Council 72, a union which represents public workers across Missouri and Kansas, including employees of the County and City of St. Louis, today released the following statement:

“For nine days, the people of Ferguson have tried to make sense of the senseless: the killing of an unarmed teen, an inappropriate law enforcement response to peaceful demonstrations, and the criminalization of a search for answers by citizens and media. Public workers join the chorus of voices calling for justice for those who cannot now speak for themselves.

We ask for justice for Mike Brown and his family, but we also know that justice in one instance is not enough. AFSCME Council 72 calls on national, state and local leaders to deal comprehensively with the structural problems that have led to segregation, hopelessness and violence in communities like Ferguson.

Too often, our economy has been closed to participation by people who already face a history of hardship. With jobs, we give people dignity and a stake in the system. Sadly, we so often see leaders trying to deal with the effects of despair in impoverished communities, rather than rooting out its underlying cause. AFSCME urges Missouri’s leaders, and America’s, to focus on building a country that works for all its citizens, rather than silencing those who dare point out its flaws.”

Corrections Officers, Not Security Guards

In 2012 a decision was made by the 16th Judicial Circuit of Missouri (Jackson County) to close the McCune Residential Center, a secure residential treatment facility for Juveniles, by the end of the year. This was necessitated by three main factors. First was a declining need for such a confined secure facility, second was declining revenue to operate it and finally the age of the over a century old facility.
Unfortunately, no immediate plans were made to secure the abandoned facility after its closing. As a result it did not take long before vandals and thieves began to take advantage of the vacancy and the facility became a magnet for anyone wanting to engage in illegal activity.

Next Steps to Fight Against Bad Tax Policy

by Alexandra Townsend, Political Coordinator

During this year’s veto session, the legislature attempted and failed to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of House Bill 253, the dangerous and unfair tax experiment which would have benefited the corporations and the rich, while leaving Missouri’s middle class with an average tax cut of $6 while gutting funding for education, infrastructure, and mental health, and increasing taxes on seniors’ prescriptions drugs and college students’ textbooks. We applaud the courageous legislators who stood with Missouri’s working families, seniors and for education instead of voting for an extreme tax bill pushed by wealthy special interests.

Sustaining the Governor’s Veto of House Bill 253

by Joshua McCarroll, Legislative Director
Unfortunately, this year’s legislative session saw more than a handful of bad ideas proposed. Even worse, some of the bad ideas actually made their way onto Gov. Nixon’s desk. One of these bad ideas was HB 253. It was yet another tax cut for big businesses and corporations. It would have taken desperately needed funding away from things like education, veterans’ homes, and our mental health facilities and given it to corporations in the form of massive tax breaks instead. In addition, the bill would have actually raised taxes on seniors’ prescription drugs and textbooks for college students.