LANSING – As the Michigan House of Representatives moves closer to putting together its annual budget proposal, the Michigan House Democrats are urging the creation of a state budget that reflects the needs of everyday families and small-business owners. House Appropriations subcommittees are expected to release their proposed budgets this week.
“The budget is more than just a financial and legal document – it is a statement of our values and priorities,” House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills) said. “It’s clear to the Michigan House Democrats what those priorities should be – good-paying jobs for our families, excellent schools for our kids, a successful economy in which small businesses can grow and prosper, and thriving communities that will attract residents from around the country. With this year’s budget, we must move closer to those goals.”
The Michigan House Democrats have the following budget priorities include:
- Fostering an economy focused on good paying jobs: Real job creation is being driven by entrepreneurial start-ups and small-business expansion. Accountable, transparent state incentives and spending should align with this reality, and additional funding should be made available for small business programs that produce job creation results.
- Dedicate more funding to programs that assist small businesses with overcoming obstacles to job growth and expansion
- Demand transparency within the MEDC, especially regarding MEGA credits in order to provide budget certainty
- Improve outreach to potential women and minority business owners
- Educating our students: Ensure that every child is prepared to be successful in the college and career of their choice. Invest tax dollars in educational experiences that are equitable, transparent, objective and focused on improving outcomes for all students, Pre-K through post-secondary.
- Build a solid educational foundation for our children by making adequate funding for third-grade reading standard a priority
- Improve on Michigan’s return on investment by increasing funding for at-risk students and programs
- Make college more affordable to Michigan families by accelerating the restoration of funding to our colleges and universities.
- Ensuring all Michiganders have access to health care: Improve the health and quality of life for rural and urban citizens – particularly women, children and seniors.
- Protect health care for 590,000 Michiganders by continuing to fund the Healthy Michigan Plan
- Restore funding for preventative OB/GYN services, rural hospitals and Graduate Medical Education
- Continue to fund Healthy Kids Dental so that all eligible children have access to quality dental care
- Improve the quality of mental health services by reducing caregiver turnover with higher wages
- Keeping our families and communities safe: Ensure that local communities have the resources they need to provide basic needs, such as police and fire protection, and that seniors are safe and protected.
- Maintain or improve local public safety staffing levels by protecting local revenue sharing
- Protect against cuts to services such as Meals on Wheels for seniors
“It’s not enough to say that these are Michigan’s priorities – we have to prove they are by funding them,” said Rep. Brandon Dillon (D-Grand Rapids), a member of the House Appropriations Committee. “The budget we pass must show that we prioritize small businesses and put the health, education and safety of Michiganders first. I look forward to working with the House Appropriations Committee to do exactly that.”
Education remains a key priority for all Michiganders. School funding cutbacks have caused teacher layoffs and school closings, resulting in overcrowded classrooms across the state. At the same time, decreased funding for colleges and universities has priced a higher education out of reach for too many families.
“Education is the driving factor to make sure our children are prepared for the jobs of the future. Making sure we have an educated and highly skilled workforce is the driving factor to ensure we have good-paying jobs here in Michigan,” said Rep. Sarah Roberts (D-St. Clair Shores), a House Appropriations Committee member. “Funding education and making sure we do it right is critical to the future of our state.”
Revenue sharing is also a critical priority, especially when it comes to financially strapped cities such as Detroit or Flint. There is concern that revenue sharing with some of these cities may be curtailed in the coming budget.
“Detroit has just recently emerged from bankruptcy, and is working hard to get on its feet again,” said Rep. Fred Durhal III (D-Detroit), who is a member of the House Appropriations Committee. “It would be an incredible injustice to cut revenue sharing for Detroit at this point, and let it risk falling into financial jeopardy again. From the top of the Upper Peninsula to the streets of Detroit, all Michiganders are neighbors, and we deserve a state budget that benefits us all.”