When Prop 1 failed across Michigan, it was a clear sign that the Legislature should go back to work to find a comprehensive road funding solution. Soon after, House Speaker Kevin Cotter unveiled his plan to pay for road and bridge repairs with massive cuts across the board. His so-called solution is to spend $700 million from the General Fund; but unfortunately, this money is based on projected growth, not money we currently have. It’s all smoke and mirrors, and it doesn’t add up.
The plan that House Republicans are putting forth as viable is largely reliant on General Fund growth while we have increasing pressures on our General Fund budget. It’s a sad fact that the only way we can dedicate General Fund dollars to road funding is to cut funding from other areas, such as education, health care and public safety.
Furthermore, Speaker Cotter’s plan would eliminate the Earned Income Tax Credit. He calls this “tax fairness,” but it’s clear that asking working families struggling to make ends meet — families that rely on the EITC — to foot the bill once again is not fair. This is not a plan. This is just the continued Republican agenda of putting the cost onto the backs of low- and middle-income families, seniors and kids.
Michigan families have already given the Republicans nearly $2 billion in new taxes with nothing to show for it, except giving corporations $2.5 billion in cuts. These cuts certainly didn’t go to help repair our roads and bridges. It’s time corporations paid their fair share.
We need a long-term solution, not a Band-Aid. If Republicans want to cut spending to pay for our roads, House Democrats have one idea at the top of the list — the $134 million price tag Republicans want to spend on new Senate offices. There is no excuse for spending $134 million on a posh new office space for state senators, and then turn around and demand that schools take cuts and families pay more. It’s time to stop making low- and middle-income families deal with the burden of funding corporate tax breaks.
We look forward to working on a plan that requires corporations, not just the hard-working families of Michigan, to pay their fair share, and one that includes cutting out unnecessary new Senate offices, not hurting our schools.