A multicolored sea of more than 5,000 T-shirts representing more than 60 organizations flooded the Capitol steps Wednesday as people rallied against proposed state budget cuts.
The Save Our State Rally brought together various organizations to respond to the proposed state budget cuts that threaten state education and various state services, said Kim Garcia, one of three Texas State Employees Union organizers who recruits UT members.
“It takes months of planning and help from multiple organizations to make this happen,” Garcia said. “It was nice to see representatives such as Sylvester Turner [D-Houston] who worked to get a bus of constituents in his district to come tothe rally.”
The rally began with a morning march from Waterloo Park to the state Capitol, followed by a series of speeches by community and organization members. The groups organized it in response to the $164.5 billion budget bill the House passed Sunday that cut the state budget by about 12 percent for the next
History senior Matthew Beamesderfer said he was one of 20 UT students and workers who started a joint march at UT, walking from Littlefield Fountain to join the official group at Waterloo Park.
“We’ve been doing work against the proposed budget cuts at UT, organizing protests around campus,” Beamesderfer said. “We are here to oppose the cuts that are going on in the state of Texas and that are going on at UT.”
Beamesderfer said he believes the simple solution to the lack of money is ending America’s wars and taxing the rich.
Garcia said she was also a part of the feeder march and was glad to see different people from various university departments come
“About 50 percent of Texas employees come from universities, but unfortunately presence in union numbers does not reflect that,” Garcia said. “If university workers realized the power they have, they could get a lot done. They have a voice; it’s just very scattered. If we could get it under one umbrella they could make a big difference.”
Derrick Osobase, political organizer for the Committee on Political Education, an organization that contributes to campaigns of candidates in support of helping state workers, said he sees no reason to make such extreme budget cuts when many sources of money are available for use.
“Tell them it’s raining now and the Rainy Day Fund needs to be used,” Osobase said. “Tell them there’s federal money. Go use it.”
After the rally, participants were invited to enter the Capitol to speak to the representatives of their districts.
Jonathan Poe, a member of Texas State Employees Union, said he wanted his representatives to hear personal testimony from as many people as possible for maximum effect.
“They are talking about cutting 80 percent of nursing homes, will lay off 100,000 teachers and are basically going to decimate state services,” Poe said. “This is going to hurt our economy and it is going to hurt people.”