LANSING — State Representative Bill LaVoy (D-Monroe) expressed mixed feelings on the state’s budget plan, which passed the Legislature last night. Senate Bill 801 contains the funding for Michigan’s K-12 schools, community colleges and universities. House Bill 5294 funds all other state government functions. The bills passed 74-34 and 71-37, respectively, and now go to the governor’s desk for his signature.
LaVoy voted yes on SB 801 because it contained an overall funding increase of nearly $40 million for public universities, and public schools will receive a funding increase of $60 to $120 per pupil.
“Although I disagreed with some areas of the education budget, I could not vote against an increase in funding for our schools,” LaVoy said. “We can and should do more to make sure all Michigan kids get the best education possible, and I will continue to work to improve schools in my district and around the state.”
LaVoy voted no on HB 5294 for several reasons. The budget includes $3 million in legal defense funding related to the Flint water crisis so that taxpayers will pick up the bill to defend state officials from wrongdoing. Nearly that same amount was cut from the budget in “Heat and Eat” funding, which would have drawn nearly $140 million in federal dollars to support low-income families. The budget also increases funding for the prison food-service contract with Trinity Food Services, which has demonstrated safety and accountability problems in the facilities it serves.
“It’s a shame that this budget puts political favoritism ahead of good policy for the people of Michigan,” LaVoy said. “Taxpayers don’t want to foot the legal bill for political appointees who poisoned Flint’s water or give even more money to a company that’s making our prison guards less safe on the job. We need real solutions to the problems that the hardworking men and women of this state face, and while there were a few positives in the budget, they weren’t enough to outweigh the tremendous negatives.”