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Renee MacNutt: Local tax dollars should be spent to help poor

Principle No. 5 of the Poor People’s Campaign: We believe that people should not live in or die from poverty in the richest nation ever to exist. Blaming the poor and claiming that the United States does not have an abundance of resources to overcome poverty are false narratives used to perpetuate economic exploitation, exclusion and deep inequality.

By Renee MacNutt

Overcoming poverty requires money and policy changes.

Empty words of empathy will not fix poverty. There is money available, but when leaders refuse to allocate money to address poverty, they show little understanding of the desperation of poor people.

Salisbury’s poverty rate is 22.9%, Rowan County’s is 18.8%, North Carolina’s is 15.4 % and the nation’s is 12.3%.

North Carolina has higher rates of poverty, deep poverty and child poverty than a majority of states. It ranks 13th-, 17th- and 15th-highest in the nation, respectively. These figures are disgraceful. Nearly a quarter of our citizens are impoverished here in Salisbury.

We must fight these poverty rates, not the poor.

Concerns voiced by citizens in Salisbury are the crime rates and opioid problems. Numerous studies have shown that the majority of these offenses can be directly linked to poverty. Work on fixing poverty and these issues will produce a steady decline.

Until Salisbury and Rowan County officials decide to get serious about addressing these poverty levels, these rates will continue to increase. Tax dollars need to be spent in ways that benefit the entire community and not just add to the coffers of the wealthy.

To those who live very comfortable lives here in Salisbury, will you help? Will you hear and answer the cries of our poor people here?

To those living in poverty here in Salisbury and Rowan, please know that the Poor People’s Campaign is fighting for you and for necessary change.

Renee Wimbish MacNutt is a member of the Poor Peoples Campaign’s Salisbury Circle.

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