In case you missed it, Governor Snyder signed the 2016 state budget on Wednesday. Naturally, the governor touted all of the decent things about the new budget but failed to mention the hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts being made to critical public services like environmental quality, community health, human services, and transportation.
To put it simply: This budget is bunk.
We need to stop accepting the lie that this shell game of moving funding from one area of the budget to another is going to build shared prosperity in our state. Cuts to our state budget benefit no one other than wealthy corporations and individuals who have enough money to buy the votes and influence of our elected officials who turn right around and dole out giant tax giveaways in return. We need to stop accepting the lie that we’re going to be able to fix our roads and keep our communities clean and strong without making sure that everyone is paying their fair share.
We need to take a fundamentally new direction when it comes to our state budget. As was aptly noted in the Detroit Free Press: “Why is it that an impoverished family living in Flint making $10,000 a year and a working-class family in Howell making $50,000 both contribute 9.2% of their hard-earned money each year, while a billionaire like Manuel (Matty) Moroun contributes less than 5% toward an education system, work force and infrastructure that helped him accumulate a personal wealth of $1.5 billion?”
It’s because cheaters have rigged our economy to reward pure greed and intentionally create income inequality. Working families are getting crushed, while the super-rich rig the system to their own selfish benefit. At the same time, lack of revenue prevents us from making needed investments in public services through our state budget and we all suffer.
We all have a have a responsibility to one another to work together to build strong communities. A progressive income tax, which has been adopted by 35 other states, can help us to achieve that goal. We’d be able to fix our crumbling roads and bridges, make our communities safer, make college more affordable for students, and provide children with an education so that they all have an equal opportunity to achieve their dreams.
We don’t have to keep accepting these crappy budgets year after year. We can build a Michigan where prosperity is widely shared and where opportunity for all can be a reality for everyone.