Statement from state Rep. Fred Durhal III (D-Detroit), Democratic vice chairman of the House Appropriations committee, on the governor’s executive budget recommendation

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

“Gov. Rick Snyder’s executive budget recommendation presentation to the House and Senate Appropriations committees had a number of good ideas, and I am pleased to see that he has taken into account a number of Democratic projects we have been pushing for over the last seven years. House Democrats have tirelessly advocated for, and will continue to support, things like an expansion of the Homestead Property Tax Credit, an increase in investment for vocational training in high schools to prepare our students for the jobs of tomorrow, and protections for vulnerable Michiganders, including greater investments in programs for seniors, veterans and low-income families.

“Yet despite these positive suggestions, I was surprised that the governor at no point mentioned returning the state funds that was wrongfully collected from citizens after a computer program falsely accused them of unemployment insurance fraud. More than 20,000 hardworking men and women in our state have seen their family savings decimated and their future work prospects destroyed by these false accusations, yet the governor mentioned no plan to make reparations or to hold the Unemployment Insurance Agency accountable,

“I was also surprised that the governor had no plans to increase statutory revenue sharing for municipalities, as this is a key component for local governments to fund much-needed public programs, like police and firefighting services.

“The executive budget recommendations outline the governor’s priorities for the state, so I had hoped to see more focus on the financial issues that truly affect Michigan’s everyday families. It is my hope that my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee will have a better understanding of our needs, and that we will be able to work together to address them.”