Townsend Leads Roundtable on Budget's Impact on Schools and Cities

Local school and municipal leaders discuss role in creating high-paying jobs
Friday, March 18, 2011

ROYAL OAK - State Representative Jim Townsend (D-Royal Oak) hosted a roundtable discussion today with local school and municipal leaders and residents to discuss the impact of the Governor’s proposed budget on our community. The event focused on the importance of schools and cities in Michigan’s economic rebirth as the state works to become more competitive in the 21st century economy and attract good-paying jobs to Michigan.

“States that develop and attract highly educated people do far better at creating the good-paying jobs Michigan needs,” Townsend said. “Studies show that top-notch schools and vibrant cities are crucial to a state’s economic competitiveness. Because of Michigan’s economic challenges, it’s important that political and community leaders and residents continue a dialogue about moving Michigan forward. By working together we can better understand the role we all need to play in our economic resurgence.”

The roundtable took place this morning at the Royal Oak Administration/Board of Education Office in Royal Oak. Participants included Michigan State Board of Education President John Austin, and mayors, city managers, school superintendents, teachers, parents and state lawmakers.

“The impact of these cuts will directly impact the experience of our students in the classroom,” said Dr. Thomas L. Moline, Superintendent of the School District for the City of Royal Oak, who attended the event. “Our schools have been slammed by cuts for years and we’ve worked hard to maintain the quality education we provide our students, but the Legislature can’t keep cutting without it hurting our children’s education. Slashing state school funding is short-sighted and will hurt Michigan in the long run. We need to come together to let people know these cuts aren’t acceptable.”

Hazel Park City Manager Ed Klobucher also attended the roundtable.

“Cities are working hard to streamline operations, share services and still keep our downtowns and neighborhoods safe and attractive,” Klobucher said. “The state’s proposed cuts will undermine the good work happening in our communities.”

During the meeting, Representative Townsend pointed out that the nonpartisan Senate Fiscal Agency issued areport last spring which found that in the last 20 years no state in the country has cut its business tax burden more than Michigan has. Yet during that time, Michigan has gone from being one of the wealthiest states in America to one of the poorest.

“With respect to cutting corporate taxes, we’ve been there and done that and it didn’t work,” Townsend said. “The proposal to cut corporate taxes by 86 percent and pay for it with deep cuts to education and cities will make us less competitive. We can make our tax code simpler and fairer, help businesses thrive and get our fiscal house in order without gutting cities and schools. I’m committed to working with the Governor and my colleagues on finding a pragmatic solution on taxes and spending that will move our state forward.”