LANSING — House Republicans rejected multiple proposals from House Democrats today which would have provided hundreds of millions of dollars for fixing Michigan roads and funding our classrooms. The proposals, offered as amendments during the Conference Committee on the Transportation Budget and the Conference Committee on School Aid and Education, were rejected along party lines with only Democrats in support of the proposals.
“Today, Republicans in Lansing made it clear that they are more interested in playing political games than passing good policies for Michigan families,” said Democratic Leader Rep. Sam Singh (D-East Lansing). “It is irresponsible and short-sighted of my Republican colleagues to reject much needed funding to repair our crumbling roads and invest in our underfunded schools. House Democrats remain committed to fighting for the needs of Michigan families, communities and our state.”
The Democrat’s amendment offered in the Conference Committee on the Transportation Budget on Thursday would have allocated $266.5 million for road and bridge funding. The proposal was drafted to address the findings of the governor’s own 21st Century Infrastructure Commission which found that Michigan roads and bridges will deteriorate without additional funding. A second amendment offered in the Conference Committee on School Aid and Education similarly attempted to allocate $200 million, which had been earmarked to close the teacher retirement system, to instead address the same road funding issue.
State research on the adequacy of school funding has also found that funding for schools is inadequate and inequitable. To address this finding, House Democrats offered an amendment in the Conference Committee on School Aid and Education, which would have increased the foundation allowance by $295 million, resulting in nearly tripling the amount in the per-pupil funding.
“There is nothing more important than ensuring that the youngest among us have the resources they need to be successful in school and in life,” said Rep. Kosowski (D-Westland). “While there are some good components of the School Aid Fund budget, some issues remain. Unfortunately, instead of supporting Michigan’s students by approving more money for our classrooms, Republicans in the Legislature remain fixated on attacking teachers and in turn our education system. This is wrong for teachers, wrong for students and wrong for our state.”