It’s oh-so-much easier to get things done when you have both houses of the Legislature and the Governor’s office in your control. Today, Michigan Republicans showed just how much easier it is. Both the state House and Senate completed passage of the various packages of budgetary bills this week and, today, in a wham, bam, thank you, ma’am flurry of legislative action, they passed reconciled bills in short order and sent them to Governor Rick Snyder for his signature — four months ahead of the deadline required by our state Constitution.
What’s involved? There is the 242-page school funding bill that trims upwards of a billion dollars out of K-12 education. A recent tax windfall is being used to lesson some of the impacts of the $470-per-pupil cuts. However, half of the “give-back” from this tax money comes with strings attached, a requirement that schools use “financial best practices” that incentivize out-sourcing and forcing union concessions. Leave it to the Republicans to take a good thing like increased tax revenues and turn it into a tool to weaken unionized public employees, the teachers who educate our children, and to help fatten the wallets of the private business benefactors.
Only five Republicans joined all Democrats to vote against that package.
Then there was the 649-page general budget which slashes taxes for business by 86% and pays for the cut by putting taxes on public and private pensions and reducing payments to the working poor (in addition to the money saved by stripping it from our schools and teachers.) On that bill, only three Republicans joined the entire Democratic caucus in voting no.
In response to this fast action, the Senate Dems had this to say:
Budget Vote Represents Snyder’s Misguided Agenda
Lansing – As Republicans pushed through the final passage of Governor Snyder’s budget plan, a plan that robs money from communities and schools to pay for corporate tax handouts, Senate Democrats today called it symbolic of the Governor’s first five months in office.
“Governor Snyder has made it very clear that his agenda will unfairly hurt working families, children, and seniors,” said Senator Tupac Hunter (D – Detroit). “He hasn’t signed a single bill that will create jobs, instead focusing on legislation that will make it harder and harder for average families to survive during these difficult economic times.”
Democrats highlighted the cuts to K-12 education, the largest since voters enacted Proposal A, drastic reductions to revenue sharing that will force widescale layoffs of police and fire fighters, and the host of services being cut throughout state government that Michigan families rely on as examples of the misguided agenda being pushed by the Governor and legislative Republicans.
“The consequences of the Governor’s agenda will be felt not just over the next year, but for generations to come,” said Senator John Gleason (D – Flushing). “In his first five months he has defunded education, raised taxes on those who can least afford it, and done nothing to create the jobs so desperately needed in Michigan.”
The budget was adopted by Senate Republicans today without a single vote of support from Democrats.