Gov. Snyder, Senate Majority Leader Randy, and House Speaker Jase Bolger reached a target budget agreement that looks more like an election year promotion to win votes rather than a sincere attempt to repair the damage tax breaks to corporate CEOs have done to public education and the middle class.
For the first time in over a decade, the budget designates $130 million for prefunding the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS). Billed as an “investment in education,” the three leaders set aside $74 million for K-12, but how schools can spend it is yet to be determined. The targeted general fund level for community colleges is $96.5 million and $1.101 billion for higher education.
It's important to note that these funding levels do little to repair the massive $1 billion cut Republican lawmakers made last year.
What makes this budget look like an election year vote-grab is the $90 million to reduce personal income taxes. Early calculations, however, estimate it only means an approximate $23 tax break for middle class workers while Michigan’s top 1 percent could see as much as $400 in tax cuts. Details on how and when the tax break will be handled are still being worked out. Rep. Bolger is pushing for a July 1 date. What is clear—taxpayers shouldn’t expect to recoup any of the losses from the Legislature’s move to help business at the expense of the middle class.
It seems the budget will be ready by the June 1 deadline set by Republican legislators. Rep. Bolger said, “With this budget agreement, people can see the focus on funding classrooms, paying down debt, putting money into savings and providing relief to taxpayers.”
Hopefully, what people can see is that the $23 Republicans are now so "generous" with does nothing to make up for the $1.8 billion tax break they gave CEO’s; the pension tax burden they handed seniors; the elimination of the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Homestead Property Tax Credit that helped the middle class; or the cuts to education that did nothing to create new jobs.