By: Dana Thayer
DULUTH – As the new year draws closer, the so-called “Fiscal Cliff” continues to gain more attention and became a part of the discussion at Mondays city council meeting.
The last meeting of the year addressed the citys budget along with a resolution that asked for less military spending on the federal level, which passed 5-3-1.
“We have constantly been struggling with a loss of revenue,” Duluth City Councilor Sharla Gardner said during a Monday afternoon press conference.
Gardner met with other supporters to say that Duluths budget, when it comes to Community Development Block Grants, is shrinking.
“Its been a dramatic shift and the reason for that shift is because of the unfunded wars in Afgahnistan and Iraq,” Gardner said.
Gardner and others who believe military spending is hurting Duluths budget put their frustrations into a resolution Monday night which asked Congress to reduce Pentagon spending and send it back to local communities.
“We dont need to be working in the framework of austerity; last year Congress devoted 59 cents out of every dollar appropriated to war,” Minnesota Arms Spending Alternatives Project MN ASAP leader Jack Nelson–Pallmeyer said.
However, not all city councilors were on board with the resolution.
“Its real concerning to me,” Duluth City Councilor Garry Krause said. “Theres a time and place for everything and right now I dont beleive is this time.”
Krause voted against the resolution Monday.
He said the measure would work agaisnt the citys efforts to expand the 148ths Air Guard base.
“By sending a message like this to the federal people, it sends the generals, it sends the joint chiefs-of-staff and it sends the elected representatives the wrong message,” Krause said.Krause also said the measure had the potential to hurt local businesses that rely on Department of Defense contracts.
“These are important manufacturing jobs that we need to keep our economy healthy and people employed in Duluth,” Krause said.
However, Duluth joined Minneapolis and St. Paul in passing similar resolutions that call for changes as lawmakers in Washington decide what to do next.