Budget proposal strips funding from U of M, MSU

The latest targets of punitive budget proposals are the University of Michigan and Michigan State University who were stripped of state aid by Republican members of the House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee. Legislators aren't pleased with the schools' position on stem cell research and mandatory student health insurance and both schools stand to lose out on a share of $40 million in performance funding.

The universities view this recommendation as a power grab by legislators who want to punish the schools for overstepping their authority. For students at the universities, it could mean a hefty tuition increase.

U of M is being punished for not supplying specific data regarding its embryonic stem cell research. Legislators have mandated that universities report on aspects of the research to be eligible for funding. U of M is the only state university doing such research and did submit information--just not the specific type legislators wanted. That could cost U of M $4.7 million under the new budget proposal.

MSU is under fire for requiring all incoming students to have health insurance. If students aren't certified with the university, they're automatically enrolled in a university plan, with the cost added to their tuition. Under the new budget proposal, MSU stands to lose $6.7 million for this requirement.

The budget recommendation still must be passed by the full Appropriations Committee, the full House, and the Senate and it's shaping up to be a battle of wills.

Unfortunately, it's one more example of an out-of-control Legislature determined to push an agenda that will stifle education and silence the Michigan voters, workers and the middle class.