House Dems: It’s time for Michigan to invest in people

Democrats will fight for Michigan’s forgotten everyday families in budget
Tuesday, February 7, 2017

LANSING — In advance of Gov. Rick Snyder’s delivery of his executive budget on Wednesday, House Democrats announced they would fight for a budget that refocuses Lansing’s attention toward everyday families, local communities and schools. 

“It’s time for our budget to reflect the values of the people of our state and that’s why House Democrats want to prioritize investment in schools, local communities and critical programs that help our friends and neighbors take advantage of job opportunities” said House Democratic Leader Sam Singh, (D-East Lansing). “We must also overhaul the disastrous unemployment system which has been robbing men and women for the last two years. These families were due their benefits, which their former employers had already paid for in taxes to the state, and it is time they receive them. It is also important, given the current political climate in our nation, that we protect those who may be affected by a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and ensure that every Michigan resident still has access to healthcare services.”

Democrats proposed revenue savings by ending tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, and holding state contractors accountable — like the Unemployment Insurance Agency Vendor that recently exposed the names, social security numbers and private data of nearly 2 million Michiganders. Protecting and preserving the Healthy Michigan plan, as well as criminal justice reform, are also top priorities. 

“It’s time to refocus the state’s budget priorities and fully fund our classrooms,” said Rep. Fred Durhal III, (D-Detroit), Democratic vice chairman of the Appropriations Committee. “Supporting both our vocational and technical education programs, as well as our world-class universities, will mean that children will have access to quality, affordable education through grade school and beyond. There is also a distinct misalignment between worker skills and job openings, and we need to correct that. We must urgently invest in job training programs to put people back to work and increase income for working families.”

House Democrats also support restoring investment in local communities to improve public safety, jumpstart Michigan’s economy and create jobs.

Other budget priorities include:

  • Fully compensating the 20,000 plus men and women wrongly accused of fraud by the state’s unemployment system
  • Protecting Healthy Michigan funding to ensure families have continued access to healthcare and to save taxpayer dollars
  • Increasing investment in public schools, as a study from the governor has revealed the state is currently underfunding classrooms by $1,200 per pupil
  • Supporting job training programs and technical education classes to aggressively prepare Michigan workers for in-demand and good-paying careers
  • Restoring investment in higher education so graduates aren’t buried in student loan debt
  • Investing in infrastructure, including water, roads and bridge repairs to protect public safety, ensure clean drinking water, and create jobs
  • Putting more firefighters and police officers in our communities to protect public safety
  • Ending tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas and prioritize economic programs that work, like the Earned Income Tax Credit
  • Establishing resources to ensure proper pipeline safety and inspections and protection of Michigan’s rivers, streams and Great Lakes

“The Flint water crisis shined a bright light on the dangers of the state shifting dollars away from our communities and ignoring our aging infrastructure. By investing in our local communities we can protect public health and safety, and create jobs,” said Rep. Pam Faris, (D-Clio). “As we hear Gov. Snyder’s budget proposal, we hope to see real investments in our people, communities and the programs that support them.”