Below you will find comments from experts and organizational leaders in response to Governor Snyder’s proposed budget. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Leigh Fifelski at email@example.com or via phone at 517.999.3646.
David Holtz, Executive Director, Progress Michigan (517.999.3646):
“Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed budget is heavy on cuts to families and children, and short on the shared sacrifices that he himself has called for. To move Michigan forward, everyone must share in the pain and the governor’s proposed budget doesn’t pass that test. Governor Snyder’s budget proposes raising taxes on low-income workers, retirees and giving Big Business a tax cut. That’s just wrong for Michigan.”
Progress Michigan singled out other areas of the budget proposal for criticism, including:
–A $3.8 million cut for environmental protection on top of $75 million in cuts from previous administration over the past decade. This will likely mean more water and air pollution in Michigan.
–A proposal to eliminate state health inspections of dairy farms and instead rely on the agricultural industry to police itself. This is a recipe for unsafe food for Michigan’s children and families.
Karen Schrock, President & CEO, Adult Well-Being Services (313.925.7860):
“We agree with Governor Snyder’s effort to balance the budget with structural, long term solutions. We also support a balanced approach that includes eliminating tax loopholes that do not generate jobs or stimulate the economy. Everyone should pay their fair share in taxes to maintain government that is not only by the people but for the people. We look forward to learning more about the Governor’s proposed budget to make sure that basic needs, mental health, developmental disability and senior services are protected for our most vulnerable citizens.”
Frank Houston, Campaign Director, A Better Michigan Future (248.808.7166):
“Gov. Rick Snyder and the Legislature must show leadership during the budget process by balancing these devastating cuts with real reforms and revenues – and unfortunately, we see very little evidence of a balanced approach in this proposed budget. The starting gun has just gone off. Michigan families understand cuts must be made. At the same time, it’s vital for Gov. Snyder and the Legislature to cross the finish line with a budget that is fair, balanced and provides essential services and resources that can help Michigan compete in the 21st century.”
Cyndi Roper, Michigan Director, Clean Water Action (517.490.1394):
“After 10 years of weaker and weaker pollution prevention and other environmental protections, Governor Snyder is piling on with $3.8 million in proposed cuts to pollution prevention and other programs that keep our air and water from getting dirtier. Why would people want to come to a state where the air and water are dirtier?”
David Hecker, Michigan President, AFT (313-204-6115):
“While Governor Snyder called for shared sacrifice many times during his speech this morning, his proposed budget asks the middle class to pay higher taxes and tuition and get less services so that corporations can get a tax cut. This budget cuts our universities by 15%, slashes our school budget by $470 per pupil, and fails to invest in early childhood education, even though the Governor has repeatedly recognized its importance. We have to invest in Michigan, starting with our children, in order to rebuild our state.”
Mark Gaffney, President, Michigan AFL-CIO:
Contact: Jesse Sipe, Michigan Field Communications, AFL-CIO (517-515-3242)
“We found plenty of sacrifice on middle class families but we did not find enough sacrifice on the part of business. Our members and retirees are proposed to give by the taxing of pensions, seeking further cuts by state workers, ending the earned income tax credit and cuts to the funding of higher education, cities and public education. Tax relief for the rich will continue and over a billion dollars in tax exemptions for business will continue. But at the same time, the Michigan Business Tax would go away. This budget proposal needs a lot of work and a lot of negotiations. The sacrifice needs to be more broadly shared. The wealthy, their profitable businesses and the CEO’s must also share in sacrifices.”
Doug Pratt, Director of Public Affairs, MEA (517.896.4465):
“Gov. Snyder says he wants to create jobs. You don’t do that by slashing funding to schools that are preparing our children for the workforce. We need real, balanced solutions that can move Michigan and our economy forward.”
Randy Block, Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network:
“We thank Governor Snyder for proposing revenue solutions, not just cuts, to balance the FY 2012 budget. However, his budget inflicts great pain on low or moderate income people that is not equitably shared by wealthy Michigan citizens and corporations. We urge the Governor to join the majority of Michigan residents who support real tax reform, a graduated income tax”.
Gilda Jacobs, President & CE, Michigan League for Human Services (248.277.6228):
“We have missed a great opportunity to modernize Michigan’s outdated tax system. Instead, the administration has proposed one that simply shifts taxes from businesses to vulnerable kids, families and seniors,’’ said Michigan League for Human Services President & CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs. “That said, we’re pleased to see that the governor does consider Medicaid, higher education financial aid, community colleges and preschool as areas that do need our protection. At least we can agree on some things.’’
Karen Holcomb-Merrill, Director, Michigan League for Human Services Fiscal Project:
“Modernizing the tax system by pausing the income tax reduction, enacting a graduated income tax and adding a sales tax on services would have positioned Michigan to solve its structural deficit and provide needed services in the future. We have missed a historic opportunity to do this,’’ said Karen Holcomb-Merrill, director of the League’s state fiscal project.”
Additional highlights from the League:
· The proposed elimination of the Earned Income Tax Credit will push 25,000 people, including 14,000 children, into poverty and worsen poverty for 700,000 citizens. In addition, it will tax people into poverty and require some families living below the poverty line to pay income tax.
· Tax shift from businesses to vulnerable children, families and seniors will mean that most businesses will pay less in taxes, cutting $1.8 billion while families, individuals and seniors pay $1.7 billion more. This is not a good priority for Michigan.
· The governor has protected some vital areas of the budget that we applaud: Medicaid, community colleges, higher education financial aid and preschool.
Cindy Estrada, Vice President, International Union, UAW(810.459.0672):
“We agree with the Governor’s budgetary governing principle regarding shared sacrifice and his desire to make government more effective and efficient. In fact, our members have made many sacrifices for years and we have been very proactive in asking to meet with the Governor and his cabinet members to discuss re-imagining State government. We have had some meetings to date and are hopeful that the Governor and his appointees will look at labor-management cooperation in a new way and reject attitudes of the past which leave employees out of the process.
I am concerned however, that today Gov. Snyder talked about examining employee compensation and government efficiencies, but did not say that he welcomed dialogue on those matters with employee representatives who have wanted to seriously talk about these issues for years.
“Only a true labor-management partnership based on mutual respect will help Gov. Snyder address long-standing State government problems. We hope that Gov. Snyder’s failure to acknowledge this factor in his address today was an oversight.”
Charles Griffith, Climate and Energy Programs Director, Ecology Center (734.761.3186 x 116):
“The Governor’s proposed budget, unfortunately, reveals discouraging signs regarding the administration’s intentions to support the important priority of growing a clean energy economy in Michigan. By eliminating tax incentives for new advanced battery and clean energy businesses creating jobs in the state, without detailing alternative plans for supporting these important economic goals, Michigan may be at risk of losing its leadership edge in developing these critical new industries.”
Al Garrett, Council 25 President, AFSCME (517-487-5081):
“Public service workers have dedicated our lives to our communities and bring value to our communities. In order to solve our budget problems we need to have a serious conversation about the fact that state and local governments have a revenue problem, not a spending problem.”
Elizabeth Arnovits, Executive Director, Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency (517.482.4161):
“Michigan needs a comprehensive solution to crime that is effective, affordable and fair. By focusing almost exclusively on spending cuts, the executive budget neglects to invest in the strategies that are proven to reduce crime and delinquency. In fact, cuts to human services and education are associated with increased crime, victimization and corrections costs. We need a balanced approach that also includes revenue enhancements.”