“I rise in opposition to both the omnibus school funding bill and the omnibus general budget appropriation bill because these proposals fly in the face of Michigan’s core values of opportunity, accountability and fairness. These are the ideals that made our state great, that built the middle class and these values are being sacrificed in these budget proposals.
“Mr. Speaker, by failing to restore the massive cuts made to public education during the last two years, this budget conveys a message to our children that their hard work should not be rewarded with opportunity – the opportunity to go to a great school with the support needed to prepare them for their futures.
“By combining all of our state’s spending in just two bills, the majority is ducking accountability by making it harder for the people and their representatives in Lansing to scrutinize this budget.
“Finally, Mr. Speaker, this budget is anything but fair because this document once again asks our children, our college students, our stuggling families and crumbling communities to continue to sacrifice just to protect a $2 billion tax give-away to corporations.
“I’m voting against these bills for many reasons but chief among them is their failure to expand Medicaid and, in so doing, to deny more than 400,000 Michiganders access to affordable health care. Taking this step would actually save the state of Michigan $200 million because we would be able to draw down federal dollars to expand access to affordable care and reduce the cost that each one of us pays in higher insurance premiums due to uncompensated care. That’s unconscionable.
“Mr. Speaker, Republicans say that their tax giveaways are turning our state around but the truth is that our unemployment rate remains stuck well above 8 percent and is significantly higher than the national unemployment rate. This is our third go-around with budgets from Gov. Rick Snyder and the legislative Republicans and two things are clear: it isn’t working for the great majority of Michiganders and it’s out of step with Michigan values of opportunity, accountability and fairness. I urge my colleagues to vote no.”