Thursday, February 7, 2012
CONTACT: Jessica Tramontana,, 517-974-6302

LANSING – Following today’s budget presentation by Gov. Rick Snyder, leaders from labor, progressive, and non-profit organizations issued the following responses:

Steve Cook, President, Michigan Education Association on school funding: “While teachers and education support professionals strongly support expanding early childhood education, we are concerned that adequate funding for a quality education isn’t reaching past pre-K for too many of our children. The governor and his allies in the Legislature slashed K-12 funding by $1 billion while giving CEOs over $2 billion in tax breaks. We urge our state’s leaders to restore every penny taken away from our local schools, so that every child has the opportunity to succeed from preschool through college.”

David Hecker, President, AFT Michigan on school funding: “Lansing Republicans have repeatedly dipped into the fiscal cookie jar to give handouts to corporate special interests, leaving crumbs for students. Putting two cookies back in is a good start, but it hardly begins to remedy the extensive damage that’s been done to funding for Michigan schools and universities. Gov. Snyder should be honest about the numbers and restore the full $1 billion he cut from our schools before claiming this is an increase.”

Karla Swift, President, Michigan State AFL-CIO on need to protect working families: “Over the course of the last two years, this administration has sided with corporate special interests over working families again and again. After what we saw in the lame duck session, I doubt that we can trust the governor to stick to his stated budget or his stated agenda. Actions speak louder than words.”

Jonathan Byrd, Michigan Laborers, on road funding: “It’s time for our elected leaders to start working together to fix our crumbling roads and create good middle-class construction jobs. With a skilled, trained workforce made possible by state prevailing wage laws at no cost to the taxpayer, our members are ready to get to started. Now the Legislature needs to step up and take action by passing a budget that makes road funding a top priority.”

Zack Pohl, Progress Michigan, on Snyder’s wrong priorities: “This budget shows that Gov. Snyder still has the wrong priorities for Michigan’s middle class families. Corporate special interests have received $2.5 billion in tax giveaways on Snyder’s watch, and yet Michigan still has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation. We need an economy that works for everyone, not just the special interests. Unfortunately, middle class families will continue to pay more and get less under Snyder’s budget.”

Meghan Groen, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan on Medicaid: “We are pleased to see the Governor did the right thing by investing in preventative care, focusing on preventing unintended pregnancies, and accepting the funds to expand Medicaid. This is the right direction for Michigan’s families. With Medicaid expansion, nearly half a million people will become eligible for health insurance. This will reduce health disparities by providing low-income women access to preventive care, birth control, and the treatment of chronic health conditions. We cannot afford to turn this opportunity down.”

Nic Clark, Michigan Director, Clean Water Action on protecting natural resources: “Promoting ‘Pure Michigan’ by attracting visitors to enjoy our natural resources is what makes our Great Lakes state so unique. Protecting our water quality should be the number one priority of any Michigan Governor. At the very least protecting two-thirds of the worlds freshwater deserves more than a few bullet points. We are pleased to hear about new monies for cleaning up leaking underground storage tanks and that as many as 40 new conservation officers could be hired this year. These folks are on the front lines in protecting our Great Lakes heritage. Our main concern is that this budget doesn’t do enough.

We need to restore funding to the DEQ and create new innovative programs that will lead Michigan on a path to a sustainable future. Programs like Green to Gold that will create a revolving loan fund for new clean energy start up companies. We can ensure that our ‘Pure Michigan’ legacy is more than an empty slogan by taking bold action.”

Mike Berkowitz with Sierra Club on harbor dredging: “Governor Snyder’s plan to allocate funding for dredging to address low water levels is like filling a pothole with sand instead of fixing the road. Dredging is only a temporary fix, and if lake levels continue to decline then this won’t fix the problem, and will have been a huge waste of money. If Governor Snyder is truly concerned about low water levels, he should aggressively move our energy infrastructure toward clean energy to mitigate climate change, which is the primary reason we have low water levels.”


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