LANSING – State Representative Fred Durhal III (D-Detroit) announced today that he will serve on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. The main purpose of this committee is to draft and amend the state’s budget. Additionally, he has been placed on the subcommittee which reviews the Department of Correction budget, and will be the Democratic vice chairman of the General Government subcommittee.
Durhal’s vice chairmanship brings with him an important task, the review of the multiple departments, agencies and funds associated with the general government budget. This will include examining the looming budget deficit caused by four years of imbalanced tax breaks to corporations. Durhal and fellow House Democrats have stated that the governor’s administration lowering requirements to receive corporate tax credits are a major reason for the budget hole.
“When the administration made it easier for corporations to receive additional credits, they were given a hidden, second handout,” said Durhal. “This after they gave corporations an 83 percent tax break. We are practically letting big business freeload off of the average Michigan taxpayer.”
Most recent estimates have the state needing to find around $400 million for the current budget, and revenue projections say that could balloon into a $500 million deficit if not fixed this fiscal year. The governor has been relatively quiet about the issue, mentioning it briefly in the State of the State, and previously stating the possible need for cuts to services. With a multimillion dollar hole however, Durhal sees less of a need to cut services, and more of a need to reevaluate priorities.
“This deficit, like other obstacles before, brings with it a profound opportunity for change,” said Durhal. “Let’s end the special treatment for wealthy corporations, and put those resources into things that will grow the economy for everyone, like premier schools and safer communities.”