Michigan House Dems announce their budget priorities – Shift $1.5 billion back to middle class families


“Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget and I’ll tell you what you value”

[Caricature by DonkeyHotey from photos by Anne C. Savage for Eclectablog]

This week the Michigan House Democrats revealed their budget priorities for the year. In stark contrast to our far-right ideological Republicans and our corporatist Governor, the Democrats’ priorities reflect concern and care for middle class families, children and seniors. Their budget is a sincere reflection of their values. By the same token, Republicans show what they value as they work to eviscerate public education, demonize teachers and other public employees, raise taxes on the majority of middle class Michiganders and cut taxes for corporations by an astonishing $2 billion.

Here is an overview of the Dems’ budget:

House Speaker Tim Greimel released the following information:

The funding priorities include:

  • $781.8 million in middle-class tax relief, including the repeal of the senior tax, restoration of the $600 per-child deduction, fully restoring the Homestead Property Tax Credit and phasing back in the Earned Income Tax Credit
  • Restoring $537 million to Michigan classrooms, including $65 million for early childhood education
  • Making higher education more affordable with a $37.5 million investment
  • reating real jobs for our Michigan workers with an investment of $50 million for film incentives and brownfield redevelopment and historic preservation incentives at $20 million
  • Protecting our community values with a $62.4 million investment for public safety and local services, $4 million for women’s health and $16 million in veteran services

To fund these expenditures, House Democrats propose to prioritize the budget and get rid of corporate welfare programs that don’t work. “We can’t afford to spend taxpayer funds on tax breaks for big corporations that don’t create more jobs. Michigan families, not CEOs, are the key to reviving Michigan’s economy,” Greimel said.

Funding sources for the House Democratic budget include:

  • $115 million from reducing MEDC’s corporate welfare programs that have no track record of creating new jobs
  • $206 million by accepting federal Medicaid expansion dollars
  • $200 million in eliminating government waste through audit savings
  • $300 million from cost-effective vendor contracts
  • $158 million from the budget stabilization fund

These are solid, pro-family, pro-middle class priorities and proposals. It will be interesting to see how the Republicans respond. Since none of this includes further erosion of women’s reproductive health options, destruction of unions, demonizing teachers, shifting the tax burden to the middle class, denying democracy to Democratic constituents, or paying for corporate tax breaks on the backs of working families, students or senior citizens, one would expect they will reject it in its entirety.

Because that, my friends, is how they roll.

P.S. House Democrats are also rolling out a plan today — which is National Pay Equity Day, the day on which women catch up to men in terms of their earnings from 2012 — to restore pay equity to Michigan women. While I fully expect Republicans to reject this, as well, we should all watch Republican women legislators closely to see if they will vote against their own self-interest and the majority of Michiganders when this package of legislation comes before them.