Friday, May 06, 2011

Turning Back the Clock

So, not only are we going to make what one news outlet labeled "massive" cuts to education, from kindergarten right on through the college level, we are going to penalize those universities that offer all the modern amenities needed to attract the best and brightest employees these days. After all, nothing screams "come live and work in our state" like a decimated public school system laced with laws that institute good old-fashioned bigotry.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you your Republican Michigan Legislature.

Added to the education bill was a provision that would penalize universities an additional 5% of their state aid if they allow health benefits for employees and a domestic partner or other adult who is not a spouse in the household.

The penalty was proposed by Rep. David Agema, R-Grandville, who said universities that currently allow benefits for same-sex partners or unmarried opposite-sex partners go against the state constitution and promote immoral behavior. Agema said the penalty on universities could add $60 million for K-12 schools. It's not known if Snyder or the Senate support the provision.

Yes, the party that claimed they wanted to get government out of your life is right back in business of judging your morality. Better watch out if you're divorced, because that one is probably coming next. It's immoral, don'tcha know.

But back to the bigger problem. In a time when education is more important than it's ever been for both people and business alike, we are going to slash the hell out of it. Watch as schools cut teachers as well as programs like sports and music so they can avoid the threat of an emergency manager, and watch as colleges also cut offerings as they raise your tuition once again.

The bill would shift $900 million from the School Aid Fund to be distributed among 15 public universities and 28 community colleges. The School Aid Fund has always been used solely for K-12 schools.

The $13.8-billion bill would cut state grants to schools by between $256 and $297 per pupil from the current-year amounts. A Senate bill cut aid by only $170 per pupil, and does not use the School Aid Fund for colleges and universities.


The House's 22% cut to universities could drop to 15% for universities that keep tuition increases below 7%. The bill cuts aid to community colleges by 15%, or $44 million.

All to provide $1.7 billion in business tax cuts that even the Republicans have admitted probably will not create jobs. So, no jobs now, and we severely lessen our chances of attracting the good jobs of the future.

When Snyder said he would "reinvent" Michigan, what he really meant was he would "regress" Michigan. Now we get to sit back and watch as the rest of the world leaves us behind. This bill has to reconcile with the Senate, but they have about the same plan in mind for us. All that's left is to work out the picky details on who will get hurt the most.

Bet you wish you could turn back the clock to November of 2010 right about now, don't you. Ah well, looks like we are going to have to go back to 1960 or so, and start all over again.