Pictures from the Fulton St., Oakhill, and Mount Calvary cemeteries in Grand Rapids. Special guest appearance by Nessie at the end.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed the final six bills for the state’s $44.5 billion 2009-10 budget this morning, vetoing more than 70 items but failing to find a way to restore cuts to college scholarships, local government and Medicaid.
Emerson acknowledged the administration had been unable to find a way, because of limits on the governor’s discretion, to restore $120 million funding for the Promise Grant college scholarship program for 96,000 students, a $55.7 million cut to revenue sharing for local governments or an 8% cut in Medicaid payments to doctors, hospitals and nursing homes who care for the poor and disabled.
Efforts to raise taxes in targeted areas for those programs have foundered in the Legislature. Earlier this week, the state Senate overwhelmingly a 3% tax on the gross receipts of doctors to shore up Medicaid.
Granholm said she has not given up on finding new revenue to restore some of the cuts, especially those to public schools. But Emerson said that may take time because the impact of the cutbacks will not be felt immediately. He blamed state Senate Republicans for intransigence on finding more revenue, but also said that much of the ongoing budget crisis is due to sharp declines in existing tax revenue, especially income and sales taxes.
“Democrats have compromised, the Republicans have not,” she said. “They have drawn a line in the sand. The fight will go on, this is not the end of the line, this is not the last chapter.”
House Speaker Andy Dillon, D-Redford Township, who led the House to the final budget deal, joined with Granholm in denouncing Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, and Senate Republicans as unwilling to compromise on new tax revenues.
"The Senate has chosen to put tax breaks for oil companies and loopholes for the tobacco industry ahead of education for our kids, police and fire protection, and health care for our families," Dillon said in a statement. "This Senate-led 'all-cuts' budget will result in bankrupt communities, schools in receivership and broken promises for students seeking to go to college so they can join the middle class."
The state Senate voted 32-4 this afternoon to quash the 3 percent physician tax House Democrats hoped would stave off massive cuts to the Medicaid program.
The 3 percent tax on non-Medicaid physician services would have generated an estimated $300 million in revenue. It also would have generated an additional $822.3 million in federal Medicaid revenue.
The additional revenue would have been used to increase reimbursement rates to Medicaid providers, possibly encouraging more doctors to participate in the Medicaid program. The tax was seen by the Granholm administration as a way to raise revenue to help plus the state's $2.8 billion deficit.
Without any prior announcement or discussion, the Republican Majority called for a vote on an expansion of the Quality Assessment Assurance Program to physicians as it was approved in the House. Democrats pointed out that following a recent extensive hearing on the subject, a number of suggestions for improvement were discussed, yet the Majority allowed for debate or action on none of them today.
“All this does is further erode the public confidence in our ability to work together or get anything done, and that's a shame,” said Senator Mickey Switalski (D-Roseville) a sponsor of similar legislation who had been involved in negotiations and personally offered numerous times to work on a compromise. “This kind of maneuvering just sets us further back in the process and they know it.”
“This is exactly the kind of gamesmanship that has created our budget mess and rightly ticked off the public, and we're not going to be a part of it anymore,” said Senate Democratic Leader Mike Prusi (D-Ishpeming). “Our caucus has consistently offered solutions that could be worked out through honest debate and compromise, but the Senate Republicans seem completely unwilling and unable to meet anyone halfway.”
The experts, who have different political backgrounds, agreed Michigan should lower its 6 percent sales tax but tax services that are exempt now — such as entertainment and landscaping, for example. Business-to-business services such as accounting and engineering would not be taxed.
"There was really agreement or consensus about the need for long-term restructuring of the tax system," said Board President Kathleen Straus, stressing that schools also must cut costs by consolidating transportation and other operations among districts.
Three-quarters of the revenue generated by the lower, more broadly based sales tax would be earmarked for state aid to public schools. Another 20% would go to local governments in the form of revenue sharing for public safety.
This significant reallocation of sales tax revenues -- schools and revenue sharing currently get about 73% and 15% of sales tax revenue -- would create a $690-million shortfall in general fund revenues, a shortfall Meadows readily acknowledges will have to be addressed in other changes to Michigan's tax structure.
But the revamped sales tax would shore up and stabilize funding for schools and revenue sharing that local governments rely on to support police and fire protection. These are the core services Michigan taxpayers have repeatedly identified as their two top spending priorities, and Meadows' efforts to create a sound foundation for both deserve the support of fiscally responsible leaders in both parties.
"Her whole point was to throw me under the bus in my community, and I wasn't going to let her get away with it," he said.
Mr. Bishop said he had to push the governor's office to invite him to the meeting. "I muscled my way in," he said, adding he only extracted an invitation from the governor's office on Friday.
But Granholm press secretary Liz Boyd disputed Mr. Bishop, saying the governor's office reached out to Mr. Bishop and invited him. She said it is standard procedure to notify a legislator when the governor is in his or her district.
"This was not in response to a call from his office," she said. "In this instance, a proactive call was made to invite him to the event, and clearly he accepted it."
"When she decided to go into Bishop's backyard, I took offense to that," he said. "That was an in-your-face tactic."
Bishop said he was glad Granholm came to Rochester Community Schools’ administration building for the meeting.
“Because I told her what I thought of her and I told her what I thought about the plan,” Bishop said after the meeting. “I think it’s horrible and I think using kids as a tool to get a tax increase is about as dirty as it gets.”
Mr. Bishop, in a phone interview with Gongwer News Service after the meeting, said the school officials voiced upset with how the budget was handled and expressed a desire for long-term reform of the school funding system.
"They just feel like there's no stability left," he said.
But Mr. Bishop described the meeting as mostly unproductive. He characterized Ms. Granholm's efforts as a "dog and pony show to put me on the spot in front of educators," but said the school officials didn't take the bait.
"She was really looking to the group to rubber-stamp her proposal," he said. "Not a single one of them said, 'Do what the governor said.' I think what they're all looking for is a real solution, not a patched-together solution."
10 West Studios is geared for small-budget films that cost $15 million or less to make. The brains behind it, Harold Cronk and Matthew Tailford, had left Michigan several years ago to pursue careers in the movie industry in Los Angeles. But the two friends always wanted to return to the state they love and seized the opportunity to take their filmmaking skills to Michigan when the tax credits went into effect.
So far this year, 10 West has attracted three movies, all faith-based productions that might otherwise have gone to New Mexico or other states. Cronk and Tailford also are planning to start producing their own films in the area.
"We know what the independent filmmaker needs and wants," Tailford said. "We're quickly building a reputation as people who can get stuff done."
Besides jobs for local residents, the moviemaking has helped boost business for hotels, a caterer and other businesses in tourist-dependent Manistee. West Shore Community College in nearby Scottville even offered a training course in film production.
10 West faced its first big test in July, when filming started on the Christian family drama "What If ..." starring Kevin Sorbo, Kristy Swanson, Debby Ryan and others. In addition to bringing in equipment from Detroit, Tailford and Cronk spent months lining up vendors in Manistee to meet the film crew's needs. Particularly important: finding a good caterer who could handle a variety of food requests, often with little advance notice.
The duo also partnered with West Shore Community College in Scottville to set up a movie production training course for 30 students. For 10 West to thrive, it needs skilled local film crews, which keeps costs low for filmmakers.
These and other kinds of efforts are paying off. Just ask Michael Scott, a managing partner at Pure Flix Entertainment, which is making its third faith-based film in Manistee, thanks to 10 West.
To make the first movie, Scott flew in 30 people from Los Angeles, mistakenly thinking that Manistee lacked any film crews. For the second movie, most of these people stayed home.
Just last week a business recruiter for a government economic development agency told me that Hollywood types tell him all the time that the state's waffling over whether to amend the credits drives the industry crazy and that many players won't touch Michigan until lawmakers settle the issue once and for all. Frankly, I've heard that complaint echoed countless times.
We can argue all we want over reforming overall corporate taxes and improving the business climate in Michigan. There are good arguments to be made there. And yes, I get it that the state is enacting a crazy patchwork of tax incentives that are leaving some sectors feeling snubbed, and that job-creation numbers don't always jibe with what was initially advertised to get the credits. It's a highly flawed system, no doubt.
But the reality is, every state is doing the same thing as they compete against one another for jobs and investment. We're stuck in a Catch-22: If we don't offer aggressive but flawed incentives to lure film or television production dollars here, some other state will. Period.
An announcement is planned for Monday to unveil a new partnership involving the Grand Rapids Public School district and Amway Corp.
The two are partnering to create the GRPS School of Business, Leadership and Entrepreneurship, district officials say. It's one of four new high schools offered by the district. It will take the campus of Ottawa Hills High School. Students can learn about major aspects of business management, marketing finances and leadership.
Students will learn many aspects of managing a business, including marketing, leadership, finance and internships.
Other "Centers of Innovation" include the School of Health, Science and Technology at Central High School, the Academy for Design and Construction at Union High School, and the Engineering and Biomedical School at Creston.
Government won't shut down, but maybe it deserves to. Lawmakers and Gov. Jennifer Granholm, after another sloppy budget process, are finishing up a spending plan that keeps the lights on in Lansing.
That might be considered a small victory, as long as you ignore the fact that this budget is not only an outright fraud, it sets up Michigan for a full-scale economic collapse.
First of all, it isn't balanced. Not even close. It may be $600 million or more short of that constitutional mandate, despite being propped up by $1.4 billion in federal stimulus money. That means Michigan will start a year that may turn out to be worse than this one already deep in the hole.
Maybe it's bad chemistry. Maybe a lack of trust. But these three can't get the job done.
It's an election year. Every state office will be in play. Few politicians will be willing to confront the special interests that fuel their campaigns.
Without some additional taxes -- or a slowdown in some programmed tax breaks -- the news will get worse, and not just for schools. The Senate has sent Granholm the final six budget bills she needs to sign to prevent a state shutdown Nov. 1, along with a message from Bishop that any line-item vetoes she makes will not be voted on again.
That's fine. The more the governor saves now with line-item vetoes, the fewer cuts will have to be made later.
"We were able to cut $1.2 billion out of the budget," said Rep. Paul Opsommer, Republican from DeWitt. "And she simply doesn't like that and wants to raise more revenue."
Opsommer added: "Oh, obviously. If you're gonna tear the schools apart, kids should be upset, parents should be upset."
"They should be frustrated. I'm frustrated," said Rep. Barb Byrum, a democrat from Onondaga.
"They're both at fault, folks," said William Mayes, executive director of the Michigan Association of School Administrators. "This needs to be resolved. This is so bad for the children who are in our system right now."
Michigan's eight-year recession has slashed one in six state workers and one in five state government dollars. Since 2000, the state has shed the equivalent of three auto assembly plants worth of workers -- a busload of employees taking their personal belongings and their last paychecks home every two weeks.
• The Department of Natural Resources has 38 percent fewer employees than in 2000. There are only 83 DNR fire officers, who are the first responders to fires on public lands, patrolling the state north of Clare, despite a state-commissioned report that pegged the optimal number at 120. "It's lucky we didn't have two major fires at the same time this season, or we would have had major problems," DNR spokeswoman Mary Dettloff said.
• The Department of Human Services has lost more than 3,600 employees since 2000, from clerical staff to caseworkers, while the need for services has soared. Just in the past year, the number of DHS clients has jumped more than 20 percent, to 2.2 million.
• Corrections lost 2,300 workers since 2000, primarily through prison closings.
• One in four Department of Agriculture employees is gone since the beginning of the decade. The migrant labor housing inspection program has been cut in half. All the department's regional offices are closing this fall. The economic development staff has been slashed.
"There are lots of ways to grow without adding employees," Wolfram told The News. "It (state government) is clearly larger. It's spending billions more."
Total spending from state resources is up 7 percent -- $1.8 billion more in the 2008-09 budget year than in 2001. That's the equivalent of an additional $618,000 being spent every day since the recession began.
But those figures don't take into account inflation. While the state's total spending over the eight years increased 7 percent (reaching $27.5 billion in '08-'09), inflation during the same period was triple that (21.7 percent).
When adjusted for inflation, total spending has decreased 14 percent. Spending from the general fund, the Legislature's main source of discretionary money, is down 21 percent. By comparison, Ohio's general fund was down less than 2 percent, and Indiana's increased 5 percent.
There was one state employee for every 161 Michigan residents in 2001; by the end of 2008, it was one state employee for every 197 residents.
Sen. Alan Sanborn, R-Richmond, concurred: "The money is simply not there. With shrinking government revenues, it only makes sense that government would shrink."
Sanborn suggests the state may have to cut school aid more. School aid dropped less than 3 percent in the school aid budget signed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm, while aid to cities in the form of revenue sharing dropped more than 12 percent.
Although HB 4447 is on its way to Gov. Jennifer GRANHOLM, the deal has yet to be consummated. The House has not taken up the bills that constitute the Senate's revenue proposals.
MIRS asked House Minority Leader Kevin ELSENHEIMER (R-Bellaire) if he was concerned that the budget could get signed and promulgated, and the House Democrats will still hold out against the Republican-backed revenue plans.
"We're confident the Speaker and the Senate Majority Leader will be willing to work toward getting funding that is viable," Elsenheimer said. "We're willing to wait."
Given the falloff in revenues since those official estimates were reached in May, Emerson said lawmakers knew they were voting for an unbalanced budget.
"They all agreed that they knew (the number) was wrong because revenues continued to slip," Emerson said. "While the Legislature might ask us to delay and wait awhile longer, that is their response to everything. Their desire is wait on everything in hopes that things will get better."
School funding isn't likely to get better but worse. Education officials say the K-12 budget Granholm will propose in February could contain additional per-student cuts of more than $500, a figure that state Treasurer Robert Kleine Thursday didn't dispute.
According to the SFA, the state has collected $16.8 billion in general and School Aid funds during 2008-09, down 12.4 percent from the year before. While the state is now in the 2009-10 fiscal year, it accrues money for the previous fiscal year through October and to meet the estimate for the year the state would have to collect better than $2.6 billion this month.
Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced that state Budget Director Bob Emerson has notified state lawmakers that based on declining revenue in the school aid fund, state aid payments to school districts will be prorated by approximately $127 per student.
Emerson’s action follows a letter from state Treasurer Robert Kleine indicating a $212 million gap between the spending called for in the K-12 school aid budget and the School Aid Fund revenues available to pay for it.
“We’re facing a crisis in funding K-12 education in our state,” Governor Granholm said. “The K-12 school aid budget that is just days old is woefully underfunded. The Legislature needs to act now to find the revenues that are critical to our schools.
“We won’t solve the serious school-funding problem we have in Michigan today unless we are honest about its magnitude,” Granholm said. Proration will be reflected in the December 20 school aid payment unless the new revenue to make up the shortfall is identified and appropriated through a new law passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor within 30 days.
In a letter to the state budget director, Treasurer Kleine explained that at the consensus revenue estimating conference held on May 15, 2009, the Department of Treasury, the House Fiscal Agency, and the Senate Fiscal Agency jointly determined that $10,563,000,000 would be available in state School Aid Fund revenue in fiscal year 2009-2010. Combined with an estimated $171,000,000 in revenue carried forward from fiscal year 2008-2009, $10,734,000,000 would be available for expenditure from the state School Aid Fund in fiscal year 2009-2010.
The state school aid budget for fiscal year 2009-2010 as approved by the Legislature and presented to the governor on October 9, 2009, (Enrolled House Bill 4447) authorized expenditures from the state School Aid Fund totaling $10,793,954,100. The amount authorized by the Legislature in Enrolled House Bill 4447 therefore exceeded the amount available for appropriation from the state School Aid Fund based on the May 15, 2009, consensus revenue estimate by $59,954,100.
As signed into law and enacted by the governor, House Bill 4447 (now 2009 PA 121) authorizes expenditures from the state School Aid Fund totaling $10,741,605,400. Item vetoes by the governor of state School Aid Fund expenditures totaled $52,348,700. Including the item vetoes, state School Aid Fund expenditures authorized by 2009 PA 121 exceed revenues available based on the May 15, 2009, consensus revenue estimate by $7,605,400.
In addition to this shortfall, since the May 15, 2009, consensus revenue estimate for the state School Aid Fund was determined, state School Aid Fund revenue has declined and not kept pace with projections. The Department of Treasury now projects that state School Aid Fund revenue available for expenditure in fiscal year 2009-2010 will total $10,529,600,000, including $10,434,300,000 in revenue for fiscal year 2009-2010 and $95,300,000 in revenue carried forward from fiscal year 2008-2009 into fiscal year 2009-2010.
Under these projections, total state School Aid Fund revenue generated in fiscal year 2009-2010 will be $128,700,000 lower than the May 15, 2009, consensus revenue estimate, and revenue carried forward from fiscal year 2008-2009 into 2009-2010 will be $75,700,000 lower.
Given these projections, the amount appropriated from the state School Aid Fund for fiscal year 2009-2010 under Section 11 of 2009 PA 171 ($10,741,605,400) exceeds the amount available for expenditure from the state School Aid Fund in fiscal year 2009-2010 ($10,529,600,000) by $212,005,400.
House Fiscal Agency Director Mitch Bean said school revenues are down about $200 million compared to May estimates and Treasurer Bob Kleine said the shortfall is $264 million because the lingering recession is slamming sales tax and other revenue harder than expected.
But Senate Fiscal Agency chief Gary Olson sent a memo to Senators Wednesday saying that based on May revenue projections and promises to pass $100 million in additional revenue, the school aid fund should have a $123 million surplus by the end of the fiscal year.
"I'm disappointed because this is a tourism issue, and this could bring serious tourism dollars," State Rep. Kevin Elsenheimer (R-Kewadin), who along with Sen. Jason Allen has included the language for the trail.
While no specific dollar amount was to be set aside for the trail project, finances would have been taken from the $976,900 in appropriations for additional projects.
"Historically, the reasons for canceling the trail have been weak," Elsenheimer said.
Among other roadblocks, the DNR previously cited the trail as being too close to a river and a detriment to the red-tailed hawk.
"They aren't even here in the winter," Elsenheimer said, noting that the hawks do not nest in the winter.
In reaction, Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) all but dared Granholm to issue vetoes.
"She can cut what she wants," he said. "We'd be willing to talk to her about cuts. That's what our plan was from the very beginning. If she wants to cut more out of government, then God bless her. Let her go ahead and do what she has to do. We'll work with her on that."
He said Mr. Bishop told Ms. Granholm last week that any funds she vetoes would be "seen as additional cuts by the governor to reduce the size of government."
For his part, Bishop said the governor "breached her fiduciary responsibility" by vetoing the money for the 39 districts, money that they were promised to avoid spending reductions under Proposal A school finance reforms passed by voters in 1994.
He charged that Granholm's veto amounted to "extortion" and a "full-fledged hatchet job" on these districts.
A plan by House Speaker Andy Dillon, D-Redford Township, to place all Michigan public employees under a single, statewide health care plan greatly exaggerates the savings to taxpayers and could cost them $870 million in the first year, according to a new study by a Lansing think tank.
An analysis by Public Policy Associates concludes that Dillon’s plan would save money largely by reducing benefits for an estimated 500,000 public workers, or require them to pay more for health insurance than they do now.
“We find the savings claimed by the white paper and based on the legislation are largely illusory, especially those related to administrative efficiencies and economies of scale,” said PPA researcher Doug Drake, who authored the analysis. “The proposal could secure savings by reducing benefits and requiring employees to pay more toward their insurance, but that is happening today. An expansion of state government is not needed to capture savings that are already occurring.”
PPA based its analysis on a review of House Bill 5345, and on the white paper issued by Speaker Dillon on July 16 and later revised on September 9. The analysis was prepared at the request of Citizens for Accountability in Reform, a growing coalition representing taxpayers, police, firefighters, teachers, insurance companies and others who are concerned that this proposal doesn’t provide the reform it promises at a price taxpayers can afford. The full analysis (available at www.publicpolicy.com) will be presented to all state legislators and to others for thorough review and consideration.
The Dillon proposal would effectively end collective bargaining for health care for the employees who are covered. “At best, HB 5345 suggests that employee groups would be limited to selecting from a small number of predetermined (benefit) options. That is simply not collective bargaining.”
Health insurance savings are already being negotiated between public employees and their government employers across Michigan, and that’s a big reason why savings from the Dillon plan are overstated. The analysis notes that benefit costs declined for Michigan public schools in 2007-2008. “These savings are occurring in the market today due to the real impact of market forces, and further savings are virtually certain without HB 5345.”
HB 5345 raises significant constitutional issues that need serious legal review. The analysis concludes Michigan’s public universities can’t be forced into a state government plan because of their autonomy under the state Constitution. In addition, creating a state “mandate” that would force local governments and school districts to participate in a statewide plan could violate Article IX, Section 29 of the Constitution (the “Headlee” local mandate provision).
The state Senate this morning sent the last six budget bills to Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
The governor has promised to sign the bills but says she's likely to make line-item vetoes.
The spending bills are for higher education, general government, community health, human services, state police and energy, labor and economic growth.
The flu-like illness that closed three middle schools in Calhoun County is likely H1N1 and not the seasonal flu, the county's health director told 24 Hour News 8.
"Our surveillance would suggest that the entire load of influenza-like illness is due to the pandemic influenza," Dr. Greg Harrington said. "There's no evidence that we have the typical or routine seasonal influenza currently circulated."
Some Calhoun County schools are seeing as many as 30 percent of students sick with flu-like symptoms. Athens Middle School, Lakeview Middle School and Harper Creek Middle School are closed.
"We are seeing increased school absences, with a good percentage of them attributed to H1N1," (Livingston County Department of Public Health Medical Director Dr. Donald) Lawrenchuk said. "What that tells us is that this pandemic is in all our districts, all our schools, and affects all age levels. It's ubiquitous."
"The school aid budget presented to me is inadequately funded," Granholm said. "If this school aid bill were a check drawn on a bank, it would be returned for insufficient funds. To bring the budget into balance, I have vetoed $54 million in appropriations. But even these reductions will not fully resolve the shortfall.
If in making the veto, Ms. Granholm hoped to push Republicans to vote for revenues, Matt Marsden, spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester), said that would not happen. He said Mr. Bishop told Ms. Granholm last week that any funds she vetoes would be "seen as additional cuts by the governor to reduce the size of government."
Senate Republicans have no intent to restore funding to make up for those vetoes, Mr. Marsden said.
In terms of overall budget issues, a wide majority (62 percent) thought some revenues should be used to solve the budget problem, and that was up slightly from a similar survey done in September when 59 percent thought revenues should be part of the mix.
Asked what revenue solution they would favor, 25 percent said a graduated income tax, 21 percent said extending the 6 percent sales tax to services, 17 percent said lowering the sales tax to 5 percent and extending that to services, 11 percent said eliminating tax breaks for corporations, and 9 percent said enacting an estate tax. Another 17 percent said they did not know.
And, asked if they would support a graduated income tax if it were on the ballot (since the Constitution would have to be changed to allow it), 54 percent said they would vote yes, 5 percent were leaning toward yes, 34 percent would vote no, 2 percent were leaning toward no and 5 percent were undecided.
The Michigan Democratic Party sent surveys to Michigan legislators about key issues and candidates in the 2010 elections. The questions range from education to Medicaid to whether they’d support any of the GOP’s second-tier gubernatorial candidates next year.
“We feel it’s critical to find out just where these lawmakers stand on these key issues,” Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer said. “Will legislators support the failed policies of the Republicans that continue to harm Michigan families? Will they support the GOP’s group of second-tier candidates?”
The MDP has asked lawmakers to return the completed survey no later than October 22, 2009. For those who do not participate, the MDP will assume those lawmakers support the GOP policies and its sub-par candidates in 2010.
But really, who cares? Whatever compromise they reach is a temporary fix. And the longer they fight over it, the less time they'll have for the substantive debate that desperately needs to take place over huge reforms in the way the state spends and collects money.
The clues indicate that 2009-10 will be more of a transitional budget that will never really be final because as the economy shifts, and needs and spending requirements shift, and revenues shift by contracting or eventually growing, adjustments will be made.
Publicly they said that no new taxes are needed. Privately, and off the record (because such things are always said off the record), Republicans have said they understand the financial dynamics driving the state. Once the federal stimulus funds are gone, with the 2010-11 budget, unless the economy somehow miraculously revives to 1990s status (or maybe even 2003 status), state revenues will be simply insufficient to maintain basic services. The state is now literally at the stage of having to determine how many prisons to close, which universities to shutter, how many more roads to allow to return to gravel.
“Some (Senate) Democrats are not on board. I don't know if it will pass,” Dillon said. “The 8 percent (Medicaid) cuts to hospitals and nursing homes will be devastating. ... How the Detroit Medical Center survives with an 8 percent cut, I don't know.”
Dillon said he wasn't happy the House had to come up with the physician tax at the last minute.
“I hated to move the doctor tax so quickly, but we have little choice,” said Dillon. The Legislature is working to close a $2.8 billion budget deficit by Oct. 31.
Expanding preschool programs and creating a public-private partnership, the Early Childhood Investment Corporation, to improve early childhood care and education; Adopting some of the most rigorous K-8 content standards and high school graduation requirements in the nation; Creating the Michigan Promise scholarship - the first universal college scholarship - which sets the expectation that students will continue their education beyond high school; Establishing Promise Zones, new public-private partnerships in 10 Michigan communities with high poverty rates, that will guarantee all children the financial support to obtain a college degree; Developing the Michigan College Access Network, another public-private partnership, linking Michigan communities together to help more students not only attend college but also to succeed in earning degrees and other credentials; Launching the No Worker Left Behind job-training program in 2007 that provides qualifying participants two years of free tuition up to $10,000 at any Michigan community college, university or other approved training program. This month, enrollment in the program topped 100,000.
Schools are being held hostage to the outrageous antics and games with the school budget. Yesterday the state treasurer sent a memo to Gov. Granholm indicating that the predicted shortfall in the School Aid Fund (SAF) was much larger than expected. According to the memo, Treasury now estimates that the shortfall will be approximately $264 million for fiscal year 2009-10. To view the memo, click here.
To put that in perspective, that’s an additional $165 per pupil reduction on top of the $165 cut that the legislature passed last week. Without serious action by the legislature and governor in coming months, schools face total cuts of $330 per pupil.
It’s an understatement to say that this is a devastating blow to public education. The legislature and governor need to quit playing games and finalize a budget so schools can focus on student achievement. Schools can’t absorb the magnitude of cuts without severe consequences to students.
Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced that Detroit will host the 2010 World Stem Cell Summit organized by the Genetics Policy Institute.
The conference will take place October 4-6, 2010, at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. It will be co-hosted by Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, Wayne State University, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
“We have been working to grow Michigan’s life sciences sector as part of our strategy to diversify the state’s economy and create jobs,” Granholm said. “The World Stem Cell Summit is one of the most important life sciences conferences in the world. The selection of Detroit to host the 2010 summit is positive recognition and support of our efforts here in Michigan in this emerging economic sector.”
The summit will attract more than 1,200 of the most influential stem cell stakeholders from more than 30 countries, representing the fields of science, business, policy, law, ethics and advocacy. There will be 150 internationally-renowned speakers, producing a unique international network designed to foster collaborations, economic development, technology transfer, commercialization, private investment and philanthropy.
Covered at the summit will be all areas of stem cell science, disease models, drug discovery, tissue engineering, bioreactors and nanotechnology. There will be progress reports on treatment for cancer, diabetes, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, neurological disorders and cardiovascular disease. Panels will discuss commercialization, funding, economic development, regulatory agency perspectives, law and ethics.
The summit also will feature the 2010 Stem Cell Action Awards Dinner where the Genetics Policy Institute will recognize organizations and individuals who have most positively impacted the stem cell community. At the 2009 summit dinner in Baltimore, two Michigan stem cell organizations won awards: Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures won the Education Award, while Cure Michigan won the Grassroots Advocacy Award.
The 2010 World Stem Cell Summit will be the sixth annual conference organized by the Genetics Policy Institute. Previous summits have taken place in Houston, Palo Alto, Boston, Baltimore, and Madison, Wisconsin.