“The omnibus and School Aid Fund budgets passed by the House today are severe disappointments. The families of Michigan counted on us to do better, and we let them down. Specifically, I am dismayed that we passed an omnibus budget that would privatize Community Mental Health services even though we’ve seen how privatization has deteriorated personal care services at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans and at state prison food services. We can’t afford to put the care of vulnerable citizens up to bid for contractors who will replace skilled professionals with low-wage workers. I’m also disappointed that we are not adequately funding for Meals on Wheels, public safety, Great Lakes and environmental programs and a number of other programs and services Michigan families rely on.

“When it comes to the School Aid Fund budget, I find it unacceptable that the House budget fails to even meet the governor’s school funding recommendation. A school funding study last year showed that we are underfunding our schools by $1,200 per student. Instead of meeting this basic funding goal, House Republicans cut funding from the governor’s recommendation. In contrast, House Democrats offered a plan that would have significantly increased the governor’s recommendation, providing more than $4 million to the Farmington Public Schools alone. Unfortunately, House Republicans refused to even discuss our plan.

“The people of Michigan count on us to make the best use of their hard-earned tax dollars. They want us to invest in our schools, fix our roads and strengthen public safety and community services. This budget doesn’t do these things, which is why I couldn’t support either the omnibus or the School Aid Fund budget. I will continue to fight for a budget that reflects the priorities of Michigan families as the budget process goes forward.”