Massachusetts Firefighters Blast Proposed Budget Cuts

More than 1,000 firefighters rallied at the Statehouse Thursday, saying the governor's proposed budget cuts would hurt emergency services.


NewsCenter 5's Janet Wu reported that firefighters marched around the Statehouse, shutting down roads.

"This is a class warfare. This is the rich against the workers," Boston firefighter Michael Mullane said. "It's as simple as that."

While speakers at the rally acknowledged that the state is in a budget crisis, they called on Gov. Mitt Romney to allow cities and towns to make up some of the difference with local taxes.

"We know there's no money, but give us the tools to raise money," said Robert McCarthy, of the Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts. "Let the cities raise taxes. Let their local legislative body vote."

Some firefighters said they felt betrayed by Romney, who campaigned on a platform of cutting government waste to eliminate the state's budget deficit.

"I feel that the governor's lied to me and everybody who's here, saying that he wouldn't cut core services," Brockton firefighter Michael Farmer said.

Mark Gallicchio said that he has already been laid off because his town could not maintain its entire force of firefighters.

"My family will essentially be out of insurance. I just have to pray to God that nothing happens to my children while I'm out of work," Gallicchio said. "[Romney is] doing about as good a job running this state right now as Saddam Hussein is running Iraq."

Firefighters planned to speak to their local legislators about their concerns. Romney was in Washington Thursday.

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