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Jacksonville community groups demand People’s Budget and action from city council

By staff |
September 10, 2020
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Jacksonville press conference outside of City Hall pressed demand for People's B
Jacksonville press conference outside of City Hall pressed demand for People's Budget. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Jacksonville, FL - On September 8, while the Jacksonville City Council met virtually, the Jacksonville Community Action Committee held a press conference outside of city hall demanding the city council reduce Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office proposed nearly half-billion dollar budget and reallocate funding to other public services and Black community investment. Around 30 people representing various organizations attended.

Speakers from the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville, Take Em Down Jax, Florida New Majority, Women’s March Jax, the Black Commission and others all spoke in favor of the JCAC-led People’s Budget proposal. The proposal calls for cutting the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office’s budget in half and redirecting those funds to other city departments such as the departments of public works, parks, recreation and community services and other departments which could create living wage, union jobs and address issues of systemic inequality.

“We cannot continue to be shot in the streets,” said Pat McCollough of Women’s March Jax. “We must stop funding these killings.”

The People’s Budget also calls for People’s Legislation that would direct city officials to make a carve-out in the city’s charter to create a civilian police accountability council; a proposal for a union neutrality ordinance for contractors that gets city contracts to allow their workers the ability to unionize without workplace repression; calls to decriminalize marijuana; greater access to city contracts for small Black businesses and vendors; rent controls to combat gentrification in historically Black neighborhoods like Springfield, and the creation of an Urban Core Development Authority which would direct public and private investment to address community blight and poverty in Jacksonville’s Black neighborhoods.

Currently the city’s pro-police budget is scheduled to be voted on this month, yet activists and community members vow to keep pressuring city council, demanding a People’s Budget and demanding they vote no on any increased funding to the sheriff office.

“The People’s Budget unites all sectors of Jacksonville that have historically been neglected by the city of Jacksonville’s previous budgets,” said Michael Sampson II of JCAC. “For decades and decades, the Black community has gotten little from the city’s budget when it comes to infrastructure and programs, while wealthy Dixie capitalists and developers continue to redirect public money into their coffers. The People’s Budget unites all that can be united against the status quo which is why so many different forces from BLM protesters, city workers to even Black small businesses support it.”

Organizers say their next step is mobilizing for the September 19 Day of Action called by the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. The JCAC is an affiliate of NAARPR.

To find out more about the People’s Budget, visit: https://jaxtakesaction.org/peoples-budget-now.

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