LANSING – “This afternoon on the House floor, I chose to vote against two bills, a total of 891 pages of legislation, making up the final version of the state budget. While I appreciate that Republican leadership in the House and Senate have pushed hard to meet the Governor’s deadline of May 31 to finish the budget, I am troubled by the fact that the public outcry on the cuts’ impact was completely ignored throughout the process. Instead of allowing debate on individual budgets, these two huge documents make up the full $47.5 billion of state funds. The changes to school funding, alone, are deeply troubling; this budget slashes payments to school districts by $370 per pupil, with an added $100 per-pupil allowed only if schools conform to four of the Governor’s ‘best practices.’ No one disagrees that Michigan’s economic recovery is fragile, and I certainly believe that some painful decisions are necessary. But the simple fact is that the School Aid Fund, which supports public education, has a huge surplus: $650 million. Instead of investing in education, this budget makes deep, painful cuts to K-12, community colleges, and public universities to pay for a $1.8 billion tax cut for businesses. My fear is that these cuts erode the future of our state’s education systems, which will hamstring Michigan’s economic potential for years to come.”