LANSING – State Representative Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo), in response to Gov. Rick Snyder’s State of the State Address tonight, said that the Legislature needs to make education a real priority if we hope to have a talented, trained workforce ready to compete in the 21st century economy. However, Gov. Snyder focused on looming budget cuts caused overwhelmingly by generous tax cuts to already profitable corporations. Coupled with tax increases on seniors and working families, Michigan’s recovery lags behind the rest of the nation.

“To encourage long-term prosperity for our state, we have to get our priorities straight. These big-business tax cuts aren’t creating jobs, they’re creating holes in our budget. Let’s put schools, our universities and community colleges, small businesses and our communities at the top of Michigan’s priority list,” said Hoadley.

“I strongly support policies to encourage economic development,” Hoadley continued. “However, the administration’s 86 percent cut in business taxes in 2011 has left our state without enough revenue to provide basic services to our residents, including a quality education for all our children. Our unemployment rate is still too high, and the cost of higher education continues to soar, leaving students with ever-higher levels of debt. We’ve tried trickle-down economics for 30 years and it hasn’t worked yet. Let’s not keep making the same mistake in Michigan. It’s time to invest in our families and communities so that we can build a Michigan that’s better for everyone.”

“I’m ready to work with anyone on any side of the aisle if they want to enact policies that are proven to increase the speed Michigan’s recovery,” Hoadley said.

Snyder expressed his support for the proposal to raise money for road improvements, which comes in the form of a sales tax increase that must be approved by voters on the ballot in May. House Democrats backed the plan last term, which included restoring the Earned Income Tax Credit to its former level and increasing funding for schools.

“Michigan’s roads are routinely cited the worst in the nation. It’s a problem that should have been addressed years ago,” Hoadley said. “We simply must invest in the roads and bridges that businesses rely on to create jobs and that people rely on to get to work. In Southwest Michigan, we need to have a special focus on the section of I-94 that has been the site of multiple accidents recently. The fact that this plan will also add $300 million to education funding and restore the Earned Income Tax Credit to working families only makes it a better deal.”

Hoadley reiterated House Democrats’ priorities on several issues. Education funding is still down after it was significantly cut in 2011, and legislation to better regulate for-profit charter schools was left to die. Hoadley stressed talent retention initiatives that would make Michigan more attractive to Millennials, entrepreneurs, and large employers, such as passing marriage equality and expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity, protecting our environment, ending attacks on women’s health, and welcoming immigrants as new Americans to our state.

“I am particularly interested in working together with Gov. Rick Snyder to strengthen the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to ensure that Michigan is known as a place of equal rights and equal opportunity for everyone,” Hoadley said. “For too long, the message coming out of Lansing has put tax cuts for businesses ahead of investing in our greatest asset, our people. That needs to change. We must work together to make Michigan that is fair and welcoming to all.”