Interactive workshop on the federal budget held in Hudson

March 19, 2019 11:23 PM

HUDSON – With President Donald Trump presenting a $4.75 trillion 2020 fiscal budget, Congressman Antonio Delgado is looking to hear from his constituents on what they want to see in that budget.

On Tuesday night Delgado hosted an interactive budget workshop at Columbia-Greene Community College in Hudson.

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“I thought it was a good opportunity to come together on a non-partisan basis and have a healthy conversation around issues that affect our country,” said Delgado (D).

The workshop was prompted by the Concord Coalition, a non-partisan organization that advocates for putting the national debt on a sustainable course. People who attended were split into groups that represented committees in Congress.

The groups then had to vote on items in four different categories. The categories included general government spending, national security and defense spending, health care and social security, and taxes and revenue.

“They get a chance to come in and decide what to cut, what to keep, what to expand but in the end they assemble a 10 year federal budget that hopefully is fiscally responsible,” said Phil Smith, the national field director for the Concord Coalition.

Depending on how groups voted, they’d be adding or reducing to the $22 trillion national debt.

“The number 22 trillion dollars, which right now is the biggest in this country’s history, suggests that we are falling behind when it comes to our capacity to invest in our future,” said Delgado. “So it’s critically important now when we’re thinking about what we should be cutting, what we should be doing to raise revenue, pay for things. We have to have this conversation.”

Groups said the process of creating a budget wasn’t an easy one.

“Our group came up with a three trillion dollar deduction in the deficit, but it wasn't easy,” said Catskill resident Lisa Fox Martin.  “You can't be happy about every area that you need to cut.”

The exercise was also a chance for the congressman to learn about what’s important to his constituents when it comes to the federal budget.

“I think the taxes, we could really make some significant cuts,” said Fox Martin. “Then even the notion of a 25, 34 cent increase in gasoline tax I think we don't like it, but we feel we need it because we need the infrastructure help.”

Congressman Delgado said he will be taking the budgets created Tuesday night back to Washington, D.C. with him.


Emily De Vito

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