House Dems’ budget would restore $574 million to Pre-K-12, higher education

Michigan House Democrats have proposed major increases in public education funding.

The Michigan House Democrats’ budget, released this week, proposes to increase pre-K-12 funding by $537 million and higher education funding by $37.5 million, while providing three-quarters of a billion dollars in tax relief for middle-class families.

Snyder and legislative Republicans have slashed education funding and raised taxes on seniors, just to bankroll more than $2 billion in tax breaks for corporate special interests.

“Our priorities are tax relief for middle-class families, restoring funding to education and increasing economic security for Michigan families,” House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel, D-Auburn Hills, said. “The governor’s agenda puts corporations before middle-class families. The governor’s experiment hasn’t worked, and unemployment in Michigan is still greater than the national rate. Our budget offers Michigan families the relief they need right now.”

The House Democrats’ funding priorities include:

  • Restoring $537 million to Michigan classrooms, including $65 million for early childhood education
  • Increasing higher education funding with a $37.5 million investment
  • Providing $781.8 million in middle-class tax relief by repealing the senior tax, restoring the $600 per-child deduction, fully restoring the Homestead Property Tax Credit and phasing back in the Earned Income Tax Credit
  • Protecting community values with a $62.4 million investment for public safety and local services, $4 million for women’s health and $16 million in veteran services

“This budget would finally begin to restore funding to our schools and universities after years of crippling cuts,” state Rep. Brandon Dillon, D-Grand Rapids, said. “After seeing classrooms across Michigan suffer with cuts of nearly $2 billion over the past two years, investing an extra $320 per student will start to repair our strained school system and help our kids compete for 21st century jobs. By making college more affordable by investing $37.5 million, we will get our state on a better footing to start attracting good-paying jobs back to Michigan. We must invest in our future.”

To fund these expenditures, House Democrats propose to prioritize the budget and get rid of corporate welfare programs that don’t work. Funding sources for the House Democratic budget include:

  • $115 million from reducing the Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s corporate welfare programs that have no track record of creating new jobs
  • $206 million by accepting federal Medicaid expansion dollars
  • $200 million in eliminating government waste through audit savings
  • $300 million from cost-effective vendor contracts
  • $158 million from the budget stabilization fund

“We can’t afford to spend taxpayer funds on tax breaks for big corporations that don’t create more jobs,” Greimel said. “Michigan families, not CEOs, are the key to reviving Michigan’s economy.”