2004 Adopted Resolutions
72nd Annual Meeting
Boston

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RE-COMMIT AMERICA TO NATIONAL PRIORITIES FOR AMERICA’S WORKING FAMILIES

WHEREAS, Congress and the Administration have proposed a FY 2005 budget which would significantly cut or underfund programs of national priority for America’s working families in the areas of housing, education, and health care; and

WHEREAS, at the same time, our leaders have committed the nation to a war in Iraq that has and will cost the nation’s present and future taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars; and

WHEREAS, America’s working families, particularly those that are poor and of moderate income, continue to struggle financially making wages that are little or no higher in real terms than those of 30 years ago (Real hourly wages for male workers in the bottom 20th percentile was $9.70 in 1973 but it is $9.22 in 2003; for women, $6.62 in 1973 and $7.94 in 2003); and

WHEREAS, in 2002 the average annual household income of families in the bottom fifth was only $9,990; the second fifth, $25,400; and the third fifth $42,802; yet in the 1990s, more than half of families in these quintiles remained in the same income quintile or fell to a lower one; and

WHEREAS, one quarter of the workforce—28 million people—made less than $9.04/hr in 2003; and many of these are the fighting men and women of our armed services; and

WHEREAS, continued global competition faced by the U.S. economy will result in downward wage pressures for many American families, particularly the 60% of America’s families who make less than $42,802 annually, many of whom are families with breadwinners serving in the armed services, reserves, or national guard; and

WHEREAS, current federal programs are insufficient to adequately assist families who lose jobs due to global competition; and

WHEREAS, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has administratively capped Section 8 housing vouchers at a time when the nation is facing an affordable housing crisis in many of its major metropolitan areas; and

WHEREAS, in a 2003 survey, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the condition of the nation’s infrastructure a “D” or failing grade in nine of twelve categories; and

WHEREAS, the Administration and Congress have not honored the commitment to federally fund 40% of special needs education and to fully fund Head Start or the No Child Left Behind Act; and

WHEREAS, most of America’s families find it increasingly difficult to fund college for their children; and

WHEREAS, 41 million Americans, many of them children, have no health insurance, and our nation does not guarantee nor require affordable health insurance coverage; and

WHEREAS, the Department of Defense and the Administration have consistently under-represented the true cost of the war and nation-building in Iraq to the American people; and

WHEREAS, Iraq is becoming increasingly violent, and our credibility with the Iraqi people is becoming severely strained due to problems securing the country after the fall of Saddam Hussein, thereby making future U.S. cost commitments to stabilizing Iraq significantly higher than previous estimates; and

WHEREAS, our leaders today have committed to rebuilding Iraq in an effort to promote a more stable Middle East, yet it is clear that stability in that part of the world will require persistent long-term resolve and public investment; and

WHEREAS, the war on Iraq was waged without the partnership of significant international allies who are now unlikely to significantly contribute to the cost of rebuilding Iraq and securing its future; and

WHEREAS, the men and women of the nation’s armed services, reserves and national guard are serving with distinction and honor in the Middle East, many of them having been injured or having sacrificing their lives for that part of the world; and

WHEREAS, many city employees are serving in reserve or national guard units in the Middle East for extended periods with cities supplementing their income and continuing health and other benefits at significant costs,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors calls on the Administration and Congress to recommit themselves to addressing unmet national priorities to meet the needs of working Americans, while at the same time providing the necessary resources to adequately protect our armed forces in Iraq—addressing both agendas with equal resolve; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Congress begin to address measures to support low and middle income working families by raising the minimum wage and expanding college student aid programs so that all families have the opportunity to improve their children’s future; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Congress restore full funding of existing housing vouchers and create incentives to encourage the production of affordable housing for working families; and    

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Congress develop a new, modern infrastructure investment plan to address America’s crumbling infrastructure and need for good-paying jobs by creatively using pension funds, insurance guarantees, infrastructure bonds, and creative public/private partnerships to help finance major projects.  Additionally, Congress must invest in a 21st Century transportation system built with ultra-modern high-speed rail, bus, transit, and new technology in mind, as well as an investment program to redevelop the nation’s 600,000 brownfields; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Congress fully fund Head Start and the No Child Left Behind Act, and keep its commitment to fund at least 40% of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Congress require universal health care for our children through expansion of the CHIP program; and provide health insurance coverage for the uninsured through refundable tax credits or other funding mechanisms; and

BE IF FURTHER RESOLVED that to maintain the strength of America at home, investment in our domestic priorities should not be deferred to fund the war in Iraq and the rebuilding of Iraq; and

BE IF FURTHER RESOLVED that Congress fully fund the workforce development system, especially the $1 billion in formula funding for year round in- and out-of-school youth and summer youth training, to assure the development of future workers