Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Michigan Republicans Target Education For Budget Cuts

Also, the sun rose in the east today.

Senate Republicans followed through on that 3.1% cut to universities and community colleges...

Republicans appear largely unified in cutting university and community college funding, although many Democrats are opposed. Community colleges are increasing enrollment as Michigan moves to retrain workers during the economic downturn.

"Our community colleges are growing and they are more vital to our economy than ever before," said Sen. Irma Clark-Coleman, D-Detroit. "We should not be cutting them now."

Students are concerned that a cut in state aid will lead to higher tuition increases headed into next fall.

See more about the intended Senate Republican cuts here. They aren't finished yet with all of them yet - check the details on the four budgets they passed yesterday at Mi-Tech - but indications are they plan the cram the rest down our throats this week. (Like that turn of a phrase? Can't exactly remember where it comes from...)

And House Republicans are targeting early education and programs for at-risk students. If we target the really vulnerable in this crowd, i.e., the youngest and the neediest, we can run around and brag about how we increased the K-12 funding! See how that works?

The House GOP leaders said K-12 school funding could be increased $18.50 per pupil next year if about $430 million in targeted support for special programs like early childhood education and supplements for at-risk students were eliminated.

They also are going to cut business taxes, introduce privatization schemes (translation: state contracts for their wealthy campaign donors), and rob from county revenue sharing, the poor, state workers, and over a half a billion in "department cuts", whatever that means. But what else is new.

The House Republicans also proposed $146.4 million in savings from reforms to welfare, prisons and other state services, a proposal to privatize veterans hospitals for a savings of $18 million, $665 million in department cuts, a 10 percent reduction in county revenue sharing, rescinding the 3 percent scheduled pay hike to state employees and other measures. Savings from the plan would total $1.5 billion.

Add it all up - more cuts to vulnerable people, more backdoor tax increases for you, reduced quality of life throughout the entire state, and no reform to our tax structure. Unless you count more tax cuts as reform.

Can we stop pretending that Republicans have any valid ideas on what constitutes good governance now? Can we also stop pretending that they intend to work in a bipartisan fashion? Because it's the same thing year after year: More "my way or the highway" statements and behavior as they insist on running the "drown government" playbook, when they say "reform" they really mean "cut", and Michigan citizens end up paying the price for their malfeasance and short-sightedness sooner or later.

Only one question remains now. The Governor put her plans on the table. The Republicans put their plans on the table. Notice who is missing?

Where are the House Democrats?

Sure would be nice if we could borrow Pelosi for awhile.

UPDATE 4:30PM: Senate Republicans have voted to cut K-12 $118 per pupil, and have slashed health care to the poor.

Schools would get a $118 per pupil cut under the state School Aid budget approved by the Senate Wednesday afternoon, along with reduced budgets for the departments of Community Health and Natural Resources and Environment.


The Department of Community Health would see $107.5 million in general fund cuts under the budget bill the Senate passed.

The budget would eliminate Medicaid for 18- and 19-year-olds, for a savings of more than $10 million, slash funding for non-Medicaid mental health services and cut Medicaid physician payments by 4 percent. Funding for dental services for adult Medicaid recipients would be restored.

Granholm has vowed a veto on the K-12 cut. Do they have enough votes to override? Better start rounding them up...