In the past two weeks, we’ve seen new budget proposals from both Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and President Donald Trump. Coming shortly after Governor Whitmer delivered a Democratic response to Trump’s State of the Union address, these budgets provide further insight into the wildly different priorities being pushed by our two major parties.
A budget is a statement of values—and while Trump pushes cuts that would hurt working families across the country, Governor Whitmer has proposed a budget prioritizing quality public schools, safe water, and good health care.
So, bad news first: Trump’s budget is (unsurprisingly) bad for working people across the country. Even though he spent his entire presidential campaign promising not to cut Medicaid, Medicare, or Social Security, his budget proposal includes massive cuts to both Medicaid and Medicare, which will mean more elderly and low-income Americans going without the care they need.
Of course, Trump has been able to find plenty of money for increased military spending and tax cuts for the wealthy during his time as president—it’s just programs working Americans rely on that are falling by the wayside. He’s also left the Great Lakes vulnerable to invasion of Asian carp by refusing to fund a barrier against the invasive species that could wipe out other fish populations devastating fishing and the Lakes’ entire eco system.
On the other hand, Whitmer has once again proposed a budget that puts Michiganders’ needs first. One of the first priorities she announced was the Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies plan, which would begin to address our state’s poor maternal health outcomes and ensure mothers—especially black mothers, who are most underserved in our current system—can get the care they need. On top of that, Whitmer wants to make childcare more affordable for working families across the state.
Whitmer’s budget is also a win for anyone who cares about environmental sustainability or having access to safe drinking water. Her proposed investments in clean energy and the cleanup of water contamination would be a welcome step forward for our environment and public health. Her decision to make our environment a priority is especially striking when compared to Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has repeatedly sided with corporate polluters and rolled back important environmental protections.
When it comes to education, Whitmer’s budget proposal would make life better for students and educators at all levels. With funding boosts for K-12 schools, colleges and universities, reimbursement for educators who pay out-of-pocket for supplies, and increased access to skills training, Whitmer’s budget would finally get our state moving in the right direction and set students up for success.
In their addresses, executive actions and, most recently, their budgets, Trump and Whitmer present two very different visions for our country and our state. We prefer the one that will lift up working families and make our state a better place.