Statement from House Democratic Leader Richard E. Hammel (D-Mt. Morris Township) on using the budget surplus for education:

Friday, January 13, 2012

“There should be no question about using this budget surplus in our classrooms to ensure that our students have the resources they need to learn and succeed in college and in their careers. The education cuts that the Governor and the Republican majority pushed through last year were devastating to our schools and left teachers and students in over-crowded classrooms with outdated materials. Last year at this time, the School Aid Fund showed a surplus of $900 million. But instead of spending that on our children, the majority Republicans took it all and more - over $1 billion in education cuts - to give a huge tax cut allowing 95% of all Michigan businesses to pay $0 state business tax with no promise of any new jobs. Now that we have additional revenue we must use it to right this wrong. A “one-time fix” infusion of money, which is what the Republicans are proposing this year, is just a weak excuse not to do the right thing. Using the budget surplus money in our classrooms will ensure that our students are not left behind in this 21st century economy and can compete with students across our country and throughout the world. If we seriously want to revive our economy and attract businesses and jobs to our state then we cannot cut corners on education. While this surplus cannot come close to restoring all that was lost, there should be no question that every penny of this surplus money should go back to schools to restore some of the money taken last year.”