University of Pittsburgh
October 28, 2003

Concord Coalition to Discuss Federal Government's "Principles and Priorities" at the University of Pittsburgh

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—What type of budgetary tradeoffs would be needed to increase the National Institutes of Health budget for bioengineering? To hire a quarter-million new elementary school teachers to improve student-to-teacher ratios? To develop a nationwide antimissle defense system?

The University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) will host "Principles and Priorities," an interactive exercise on the federal budget, on election day, Tuesday, Nov. 4, from 7 to 9 p.m. in Room 2K56 Posvar Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

"Principles and Priorities" will be facilitated by the Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan, grass-roots organization dedicated to balanced federal budgets and generationally responsible fiscal policy.

"Principles and Priorities" participants will discuss and debate federal spending and tax priorities that address the nation's short- and long-term needs. Working in groups of six to 10, "Principles and Priorities" participants engage in a discussion of the pros and cons of several dozen actual spending policy options, and the role of the federal government. They then recommend a package of changes that will place the United States on a solid fiscal foundation over the next several years. "Principles and Priorities" concludes with a wrap-up discussion of the results from each group.

"This exercise puts participants in the driver's seat and requires that they make tough decisions on the U.S. federal government budget over the next 10 years. I think it is a great learning tool, not only for students, but for all citizens," said Sandra Williamson, associate professor of international affairs at GSPIA.

"With the return of large budget deficits and emerging security challenges, we hope to hear from citizens of all ages and political backgrounds about what our lawmakers should be doing to deal with an array of national issues," said Concord Midwest/Northeast Regional Director Corey Davison. The Concord Coalition hosts similar town hall meetings across the country.

The Concord Coalition was founded in 1992 by former Senator Warren Rudman

(R-NH), the late Senator Paul Tsongas (D-Mass.), and former Secretary of Commerce Peter Peterson. In 2002, former Senator Robert Kerrey (D-NE) joined Rudman as cochair of the organization, which does not endorse, support, or oppose political parties or candidates for public office.