Brunner: Surplus Should Go to Prevent Drastic School Cuts

Republicans reject plan to restore $760M to K-12 education
Thursday, May 12, 2011

LANSING - State Representative Charles Brunner (D-Bay City) today threw his support behind a plan to prevent the Governor’s drastic cuts to K-12 education by using a state revenue surplus to restore $760 million in school aid funding. House Republicans, however, refused to allow the plan to even come up for a vote on the House Floor.

“Republicans failed today to do what the average Michigan family does when some extra money comes through - put it toward whatever’s at the top of their list of priorities,” Brunner said. “There is no higher priority for Michigan right now than investing in education, and that’s where we should be putting that surplus. We still have a small window of opportunity for Republicans to do the right thing and avoid the Governor’s devastating cuts to our schools and unnecessary raid of the School Aid Fund. Otherwise, our kids will not be prepared to compete against other workers and we will not be able to attract the high-quality job providers we need. It’s as simple as that.”

Last week, House Republicans passed a budget plan that cuts $1.1 billion from K-12 funding to subsidize a massive corporate tax break. Under the plan, Michigan’s schools will see cuts of at least $426 per student with some school districts being hit with cuts as large as $1,558 per student.

Due to increased income and sales tax collections in the second quarter of the current fiscal year, the state has a surplus of nearly $800 million in the School Aid Fund, according to the nonpartisan House Fiscal Agency. The plan Brown supported today would use most of these funds to prevent deep budget cuts to education; however, House Republicans blocked it from receiving a vote or even discussion on the House Floor.