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1.45 Billion Maine Taxpayers Paid to Military – Called “Excessive”

Local peace activists are calling attention to the $1.45 billion that Maine taxpayers contributed to Pentagon Budget in FY 2015. (M. Speiss)
Local peace activists are calling attention to the $1.45 billion that Maine taxpayers contributed to Pentagon Budget in FY 2015. (M. Speiss)
April 18, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine – Peace activists across New England and the globe are using Tax Day to raise a red flag about concerns over what they call excessive military spending and the impact that has on human needs.

Since the normal tax filing deadline fell on Patriot's Day this year, Mainers have until Tuesday to send in their tax returns, and Martha Speiss, a member of the action committee for Peace Action Maine, says that's when her group will be holding its event in Portland to call attention to what she calls excessive spending on the military.

"We're holding it in Portland because for the Department of Defense in fiscal year 2015, Portland paid 86.99 million (dollars), and the State of Maine pays 1.48 billion (dollars)," she states.

According to the National Priorities Project, if Mainers' tax money were spent elsewhere it could cover health care for 800,000 people for a year, or V.A. medical care for as many as $170,000.

Speiss's group has been handing out flyers in various parts of the state informing Mainers about these trade-offs.

Tuesday's event includes music and a half dozen speakers. It kicks off at 11 a.m. at Congress Square Park, which is near the Portland Art Museum.

Speiss maintains some of the most wasteful spending is the $1 trillion the Pentagon is spending to upgrade the nation's nuclear weapons over the next 30 years.

"Our group is particularly focused on moving the money and reducing the Pentagon budget, and then abolishing nuclear weapons,” she states. “So, we kind of fold those two issues and link to the Global Day of Action against military spending."

The Global Day of Action events are kicked off each year by the release of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute's annual report on global military spending.

Speiss says, once again in fiscal 2015, the United States spent more than the next eight countries combined.




Mike Clifford, Public News Service - ME