LANSING – State Representative Fred Durhal III (D-Detroit) today said that he voted against the omnibus budget bill, House Bill 4102, earlier this week because it fails to invest in people and communities and will end up hurting Michigan’s most vulnerable citizens.
“As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I was able to spend time looking over department budgets that make up the omnibus budget bill and talking with my colleagues about the priorities I believe we should fund,” said Durhal. “Unfortunately, this budget doesn’t measure up, and won’t meet the needs of many of our residents and communities.”
HB 4102 contained all state budgets except for K-12 schools, colleges and universities and community colleges. Durhal offered several amendments to HB 4102, including one that would restored revenue sharing funding that was cut from Detroit’s allocation. Durhal proposed to restore the $5.8 million to Detroit by taking $5.8 million out of the Michigan Strategic Fund allocation and using that to for the communities that would have received the money that was supposed to go to Detroit. That amendment was defeated.
“House Republicans cut $5.8 million out of Detroit’s revenue sharing which could make it difficult for the city to meet its obligations agreed to when it came out bankruptcy last year,” said Durhal. “Legislators and city leaders worked together with creditors and others to forge a path to creating a stronger Detroit that can meet the needs of its citizens. But cutting the city’s revenue sharing now is shortsighted and risks damaging all the good bipartisan work that was done to help Detroit.”
Another of Durhal’s amendments would have opened a corrections facility for juvenile offenders in Iron River on the site of the former Camp Ottawa facility. Michigan sends certain juvenile offenders under the age of 18 to adult court. Under Durhal’s plan, those juveniles under the age of 17 and convicted of a crime would go to this juvenile facility instead of a facility that also houses adults. That amendment was also defeated.
“For an investment of $10 million, we could have a juvenile facility that would save the taxpayers money from lawsuits that often arise when young offenders are sent to adult facilities,” said Durhal. “Young inmates can too easily fall victim to hardened adult prisoners. No one deserves to be raped in prison, but that has happened and will continue to happen unless we deal differently with our youngest prisoners. Retrofitting Camp Ottawa is the most fiscally prudent way to deal with this problem, and I will continue talking with my colleagues to try to convince them to fund my plan.”
House Bill 4102 was sent to the Senate.