LANSING — Today, the House of Representatives approved the state budget for fiscal year 2018-19. In response, state Rep. Sara Cambensy (D-Marquette) issued the following statement on her no vote:
“Though there are many positives to this year’s budget, I cannot vote for it with the closure of a prison targeted and no details concerning where that closure will be. Conversations as recent as this morning with the Michigan Department of Corrections have not clarified whether a prison in my district will be impacted, and the weight of this uncertainty causes undue stress on MDOC employees, communities, local school districts and local businesses in the U.P. while waiting. It is unacceptable to target $19 million in savings through an unspecified location for that prison closure, and I’m not willing to vote ‘yes’ for a budget that leaves this crucial question for constituents in my district unanswered.
“I am pleased to see greater funding for roads and schools, but after years of sending less and less money back to our local communities, our infrastructure and public schools are in dire need of investment. When our communities agreed to send the majority of taxes to the state to be shared back in a fairly distributed manner for what they paid in, we can’t keep withholding more and more of that revenue sharing and picking our special projects in Lansing with it. On top of that, with legislation we pass, we cannot keep shifting more programs and costs onto our local units of government. It’s a double whammy, and that’s why our communities are continually asking taxpayers for help with bonds and millages, because Lansing continues to starve them from the revenue they were promised.
“A strong budget would demonstrate real transparency and invest in the people, jobs, education and critical infrastructure that are key to a bright and resilient future in Michigan. Our counties, cities and villages can do this best and we need to get back to a budget that gives locals more control of their tax dollars without micromanaging how they run their communities and schools through legislation coming from Lansing.”