LANSING - House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills), Democratic Floor Leader Rudy Hobbs (D-Southfield) and Appropriations Committee Minority Vice Chairwoman Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) said today that they are disappointed that Gov. Rick Snyder is continuing to ignore the priorities of cities, students, middle-class families and senior citizens in his 2014 budget. Snyder unveiled his budget proposal at a joint House-Senate Appropriations committee meeting today.
"The governor is once again failing to adequately fund our schools and failing to prepare our kids for college and the job market," said Greimel. "Michigan's economic success is tied to education, but the governor's budget priorities don't reflect that. Companies will only invest in communities where they can employ a talented and educated workforce."
"The governor's priorities are wrong. He has focused on CEOs and his corporate friends at the expense of Michigan's families and senior citizens who are struggling because of tax increases that rob them of the money they need to pay for housing and keep food on the table," said Tlaib. "Real people are not a priority in this budget. This is more of the same from the past two years where families, seniors and our communities have to struggle to just get their basic needs met."
The governor continues to underfund education in pre-K, K-12 and higher education while tying some funding to unproven best practices. He funds road repairs on the backs of drivers taking even more money away from families and seniors already reeling from tax and retirement tax increases. The one positive point is the governor's decision to accept federal funding to expand Medicaid to about 400,000 people. If approved by the Legislature, the expansion will be fully funded by the federal government for the first three years, and then funded at no less than 90 percent after that.
By picking winners and losers, the governor's budget fails Michiganders in these major areas:
K-12: the governor plans to increase funding by 2 percent when he has diverted nearly $2 billion from our schools in the past two years. The increase will be tied to unproven performance metrics and best practices that school districts have to adhere to in order to receive the additional funding.
Early education: The governor only offers $65 million gross - $50 million ongoing and $15 million in one-time funds- which will not cover the 29,000 low-income pre-school kids are waiting to get into early education programs.
Health care: the governor's small increase to the Healthy Kids Dental Program still fails to cover all low-income kids who could qualify for this important health care service like those in Wayne County.
Revenue Sharing/Economic Vitality Incentive Program: The governor mistakenly takes credit for an automatic $16 million increase that he has no control over. The payments that local governments receive through legislative- approved revenue sharing remains flat, which means that locals will still struggle to provide the services to residents.
Transportation: the budget forces a huge "birthday tax" on drivers by hiking registration fees by as much as $118 per year, per vehicle, in addition to a hike in the gas tax of 14 cents, in order to pay for the governor's infrastructure plan.
"Michigan residents deserve better than what the governor is willing to give them," said Hobbs. "For the third year in a row, the governor's budget proposal places an increased burden on the backs of our struggling middle-class working families, and does nothing to help them recover. My Democratic colleagues and I will fight hard against the misguided principals in the governor's proposal and demand that we adopt the middle-class priorities of fully funding schools and local communities, and tax breaks for families and seniors who have struggled too long to meet their basic needs."