A Just Green Stimulus for Massachusetts

House Speaker Mariano, Senate President Spilka and the Legislature

As our economy reels from the impact of the COVID-19 virus, the Massachusetts Legislature will be appropriating funds to address the pandemic and the resulting economic recession; the climate emergency; and extreme inequality backstopped by white supremacy and racist policing. To tackle these issues head on, we need a Green Stimulus Plan for Massachusetts. We need hundreds of thousands of good paying, green union jobs to create safe and healthy homes, build renewable infrastructure, and create community resiliency that simultaneously restarts our economy and tackles climate injustice.

Sign and share this petition to tell our leaders that we can't wait until the next crisis to protect the most vulnerable among us and jump start our economy.

Endorsed by Boston DSA, Berkshires DSA, Cape Cod DSA, Merrimack Valley DSA, Metrowest DSA, Pioneer Valley DSA, Act on Mass, GreenRoots,  JP Progressives, Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard Alumni, 350 Massachusetts Berkshires Node, Erika Uyterhoeven (State Representative-elect), Extinction Rebellion Massachusetts, Alex Morse (Mayor of Holyoke), Cambridge City Council Member Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler, and Worcester Sunrise Movement.

To: House Speaker Mariano, Senate President Spilka and the Legislature
From: [Your Name]

Massachusetts faces three converging crises: the COVID19 pandemic and the resulting economic recession; the climate emergency; and extreme inequality backstopped by white supremacy and racist policing.

Unemployment is rising at the fastest rate since the 2008 crash, and could eventually reach 20% — twice as high as the Great Recession. We need immediate and sustained intervention to protect people’s health and economic well-being, with a special focus on redirecting resources from violent and ineffective police (https://theoutline.com/post/7423/no-more-cops?zd=1&zi=r6nw6vfe) to the most vulnerable communities, and especially Black communities. We must also begin planning our economic recovery in a way that protects us from the impact of climate change and lifts up workers and frontline communities.

Thus, we propose an ambitious Just Green Stimulus that creates hundreds of thousands of family-sustaining green jobs, lifts standards of living, accelerates a just transition off fossil fuels, ensures a controlling stake for the public in all private sector bailout plans, and helps make our society and economy stronger and more resilient in the face of pandemic, recession, and climate emergency in the years ahead.

The Just Green Stimulus that we propose directly tackles environmental racism by prioritizing environmental justice for Black and immigrant communities. A Green Stimulus should be aligned with the “5 Principles for a Just COVID-19 Relief and Stimulus,” (https://www.fiveprinciples.org/) as put forward by over 300 environmental, justice, labor, and movement organizations: (1) ensure that all people have healthcare with no exceptions; (2) provide economic relief directly to the people; (3) rescue workers and communities, not corporate executives; (4) make a down payment on a regenerative economy, while preventing future crises; and, (5) protect our democratic process while protecting each other.

Additionally, our proposal is grounded in five key strategies, cutting across industrial sectors and bureaucratic domains:

● Create hundreds of thousands of new family-sustaining, career-track green jobs in clean energy expansion, building retrofits and sustainable homebuilding, local food economies, public transit maintenance and operations, environmental restoration, electric appliance and vehicle manufacturing, green infrastructure construction and management, local and sustainable textiles and apparel, and partnering with existing pre-approved apprenticeship programs to bring more low-income and workers of color into good union jobs;

● We rely less on policing and incarceration to fix issues of violence and crimes of poverty when we invest in healthcare, education, and jobs in MA communities. Defund the police and redirect these resources to deliver strategic investments — like green housing retrofits, rooftop solar installation, electric bus deployment, rural broadband development, and other forms of economic diversification — to lift up and collaborate with frontline communities, including Black communities, communities of color, Indigenous communities, low-income communities, communities that have suffered disinvestment, and communities that have historically borne the brunt of pollution and climate harm;

● Expand public and employee ownership by leveraging existing public agencies and assets (including public transit agencies, local housing authorities, public school districts, and electric co-ops), taking equity stakes in companies receiving substantial direct investment (including the airline, fossil fuel, and cruise industries), and conditioning strategic aspects of any stimulus package on worker self-determination measures and cooperatives; and,

● Make rapid cuts to carbon pollution to keep global warming as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius and meet the Commonwealth’s Global Warming Solutions Act goals. As climate science tells us, this is a prerequisite for limiting further climate breakdown. During this rapid decarbonization effort, we must also protect the salaries, benefits, and retirements of fossil-fuel workers.

Right now, legislative action as well as planning work, done safely through online channels, including public debate and consultation, can ensure that physical projects can commence as soon as it is feasible to restart major in-person work across the Commonwealth.

As a first priority step, both the House and the Senate must take up the Environmental Roadmap bills that were passed at the end of the 2019-20 session, but were vetoed by Gov. Baker. These bills released by the conference committee should be introduced as early as possible in the 2021-22 session, and speedily passed, so that a full or partial veto can be overridden early in the legislative session. This would clear the way for ongoing efforts to address the crucial issues of creating good union jobs while addressing at the same time promoting the urgent issues of renewable and resilient climate infrastructure, while addressing environmental justice for vulnerable Black and immigrant communities and neighborhoods.