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MoCo Greens call for a sustainable budget
07-04-2013, 03:07 AM,
MoCo Greens call for a sustainable budget
Rockville, Maryland - May 23, 2013
Contact Tim Willard, 240-533-2399,

Green Party Urges Montgomery County Council to Adopt 
Green New Deal for A
 Sustainable, Steady State Economy

Montgomery County Green Party urges County Council to implement the Green New Deal for the FY14 Budget. Although Montgomery County is one of the greenest jurisdictions in the country, it is not on a sustainable course. We continue to put increasing amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, to pave green and open spaces, and to degrade our streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. Our children suffer increasing rates of health problems, from neurodevelopmental disabilities such as autism to diabetes and obesity. People of moderate and low income continue to be priced out of housing, while the foreclosure rate remains high. Our ever-increasing population causes dangerous congestion on our roads, while driving up county budgets for schools, infrastructure and services.

The Green Party advocates a transition to a steady state economy. We believe that we can achieve prosperity without growth, and this is the only path to sustainability.

The County budget should fund only economic, social, and environmental programs in harmony with that goal. Toward that goal, the Green Party recommends County Council adopt the following budget priorities for FY14 and beyond:
• Move to net zero CO2 for county government. Make all county facilities energy producers, including county schools. Use electric vehicles for all county agencies. Promote reforestation. Support a massive program to retrofit county homes and businesses through small business initiatives.
• Support local businesses and farms, through county government procurement policies that emphasizing local suppliers.
• Encourage community owned and cooperative banks, by depositing County government funds in local banks and credit unions.
• Work to achieve full employment through labor-intensive green projects such as county reforestation, organic farming, and retrofitting buildings to save energy.
• Increase public transportation with expanded bus service and bus rapid transit; put safe bicycle lanes on all roads; and facilitate bike rental services.
• Change the Annual Growth Policy to an Annual Sustainability Policy.
• Use the UN Human Development Index instead of GDP-based metrics to measure real progress for Montgomery County residents, including life expectancy, schooling, gender equality, poverty, net income and environmental health.
• Promote community gardening, suburban/urban farming, and permaculture through county public awareness programs and opening up county-owned properties for cultivation.
• Eliminate all tax subsidies to corporations and incentives to relocate to the county, to promote a true free market and transparent economic expenditures.
• Support resource-saving economic activities by encouraging local currencies, tool sharing centers, and other resource saving activities; and work to increase county recycling rates to as close to 100% as possible.

We must turn away from environmentally destructive economic and land use policies that destroy our natural resources in pursuit of unsustainable economic growth. While Montgomery County’s policy of high-density, transit oriented development has laudable goals, in reality it only increases congestion, and does not provide for green space to make these urban areas liveable. Studies have shown this development does not achieve its goal of decreasing driving mileage.

Of the major categories in the County Executive’s proposed budget for tax-supported expenditures, the environment is the smallest at just 0.1%, one tenth of the next largest category. Yet, environmental issues today will determine our quality of life and the foundation of a healthy society for future generations. County budget priorities should reflect the wisdom that:

“The economy is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way around.”

Best practices and references in attachment.

Montgomery County Green Party is a chapter of Green Party USA.

Green Party Urges Montgomery County Council to Adopt Green New Deal for A Sustainable, Steady State Economy

Children’s Health

Top Ten Toxic Chemicals Suspected to Cause Autism and Learning Disabilities

Sharp increase in disabilities due to neurodevelopmental and mental health problems

Energy and Climate Change

Net Zero Energy, High Performance Buildings

Large-scale Reforestation Helps Counter the Global Warming Impacts of Deforestation

Improving the Performance of Buildings through Retro-commissioning

Best Practice: Green Buildings Retrofit Program

Model organization in Baltimore, combining energy efficiency, jobs creation, and community outreach

Local Purchasing

Institute for Local Self-Reliance: Example of local statute giving preference to local purchasing

Many benefits of local food procurement through Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA).

Maryland State website to find local farms selling directly to customers through Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA).

Community Banking

Advantages of Banking with a Locally Owned Community Bank

Community Bank Advantages

Finding Resilience in Crisis: The Benefits of Locally Rooted Banks

Green Jobs

U.S. Department of Labor links to green jobs sites for a host of topics (types of green jobs, initiatives, careers, hazards, etc.)

Department of Labor report tailored to those with disabilities seeking a green job.

The “green economy coalition” is a global network of organizations committed to accelerating a transition to a new green inclusive economy.

United Nations Economic Programme: “Including “Green Economy and Trade Trends, Challenges and Opportunities” (298 page report)

Economic Policy Institute documents with end notes for citations of other sources

Worldwatch Institute's Green Economy Program recognizes that the global environmental and economic crises have common origins and must be tackled together. The program seeks to offer solutions that enhance human wellbeing and reduce inequities while protecting the planet.

Public Transportation

Public Transportation Benefits – Facts at a Glance

Public Transportation’s Role in Responding to Climate Change

Sustainability Policy

Components of a sustainable, resilient economy

Center for a Steady State Economy (CASSE)

Ecological economics principles and sources

Steady State Economy Indicators

UN Human Development Index – great range of indices, and online ability to develop your own index

Sustainable Seattle, worldwide leader in the development of regional sustainability indicators based on citizens’ values and goals for their communities.

Genuine Progress Index (GPI), an index vetted by the scientific community, used regularly by governmental and non-governmental organizations worldwide and now Maryland; documents a more truthful picture of economic and social progress. Redefining Progress’s latest update, covering 1950 to 2004, shows that economic growth has been stagnant since the 1970s.

Gross National Happiness (GNH) – “The essence of the philosophy of GNH is the peace and happiness of our people and the security and sovereignty of our nation.” Bhutan

Happy Planet Index – Costa Rica is #1 worldwide – “Economics As If People and the Planet Mattered”

Capabilities Approach: Development as Freedom, People-Centered (Amartya Sen)

Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance (Neighborhood Vital Signs)

Healthy School Food

Create Change: Top 6 Suggestions for Creating Change in Your School

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine recommends moving the unhealthy meat, dairy, and processed foods out of school lunches.

The fruit and vegetable prescription program fosters innovative partnerships between healthcare and community food providers to make a direct connection between increased consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables and improved health among vulnerable community members.

Permaculture and Food

Food Forest Permaculture

Native grassland ecosystem of growing grains

Cultivating Forest Gardens in California, Montana, and British Columbia

Stockfree or veganic methods

True Free Market/Eliminate Corporate Subsidies

Major established industries depend on tax subsidies

Fiscal deals tightening spending still incorporate huge corporate welfare

US ranked 19th in global corruption perception by Transparency International. at 73% transparent

Resource Saving

Local currencies are a community's "own local stimulus program,” supports local businesses and promotes social networks

Baltimore’s “Bnote”’ local currency with more than 200 businesses participating

Based on a sharing economy, tool libraries have tools for construction, maintenance, and craft work

SE Portland, Oregon has all-volunteer library of home and garden tools borrowed free of charge

California county sets 100% recycling goal, up from current two-thirds performance

Washington State county creates comprehensive food recycling and composting support program

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